Supporters of the District 88 school building referendum are no doubt breathing a little easier today, after holding their breaths Tuesday night as the referendum votes were counted.
As the precincts were counted one by one and their votes added to the total, there was never a clear indication who the final tally would favor. At the end, the school building bonds were approved by a narrow 52-vote margin, a one percent win with over 5,200 votes cast.
There is bound to be some skepticism by opponents over the late shift in the margin. At first, it appeared the measure had failed by 49 votes, but after a fault in the tally of New Ulm's Ward 1, Precinct 2 votes was corrrected, the margin shifted to a win for the district.
There is strong opposition to this project in the district. Taxes continue to be a concern for many, and an increase in school taxes is going to be hard to take.
But the benefit to the district, and to the community, is huge. The new high school and the repurposed and remodeled facilities will allow for better programming and adequate space for all students. The district should serve as an attraction for business and families looking for a new home. Without this project, if District 88 had to continue to operate in its cramped facilities, the local schools would have become a deterrent to growth.
In time, this vote will be seen as a great benefit for New Ulm. Thanks to all who volunteered and worked and who voted to support the passage of this referendum.