Voters in the Springfield Platteview school district rejected a $35.7 million bond issue Tuesday.
In unofficial results, the final tally was 1,471 opposed and 1,052 in favor, a margin of about 58 percent to 42 percent.
The measure, the largest bond issue in the district's history, was intended to provide funding for safety and security upgrades as well as renovations to the district's 40- and 50-year-old school buildings, which have seen little updating.
Superintendent Brett Richards said it was too soon to to decide whether school officials will try again.
“Our needs don't go away at this point,'' Richards said. “We need to find a way to engage some of these 'no' voters.''
The special election was conducted by mail.
A little less than half of the district's approximately 5,356 registered voters cast ballots, said Sarpy County Election Commissioner Wayne Bena.
The Springfield Platteview school board voted unanimously in September to place the measure on the ballot.
The proposal included tornado shelters for each school. An addition connecting the junior and senior high schools would have served as a tornado shelter and as a multipurpose room with locker rooms and fitness facilities.
The bonds also would have provided for secure front entrances at all four schools and for enclosing open classrooms at Westmont Elementary and the junior high. Such changes have been a safety priority at several other area districts.
Also included in the bond issue were upgrades and improvements aimed at meeting modern educational needs, such as updates to media centers and science classrooms and labs.
While no organized opposition emerged, the bonds were supported by a committee called Securing All Future Education, or SAFE, which campaigned door-to-door and on social media.
After placing the measure on the ballot, the district offered tours and held a question-and-answer session during a school board meeting. Few attended.
The district saw enrollment increase to 1,012 students this school year, up 6 percent from last year's 952 students.
Under the $35.7 million measure, residents would have paid an additional 25.2 cents per $100 of assessed value, or an increase of $252 a year in property taxes on a home valued at $100,000 for tax purposes.
Springfield Platteview was formed in 1958 with the merger of 13 rural Sarpy County school districts. The $890,000 bond issue voters approved the following spring was used to build a new junior-senior high school.
A $6.5 million bond issue in 2004 added a 1,400-seat gymnasium, a 600-seat auditorium, a vocational education wing, a new band room and weight room as well as a new student commons areas.