Voters approve Grand Rapids, Brainerd school bonds

Updating my earlier post, voters in the Grand Rapids and Brainerd school districts approved a series of bond measures today. Late results showed a close, mixed result in Grand Rapids and an overwhelming passage in Brainerd.

In Grand Rapids, taxpayers approved a question of raising $69 million to build two new elementary schools and remodel Cohasset Elementary. The vote was very close, 3,249 to 3,187. A second $5 million question to build new athletic facilities at Grand Rapids and Bigfork schools failed 3,532 to 2,883.

In Brainerd, all three bond measures passed. This raised $145 million for large-scale remodeling of elementary and secondary schools and the creation of a new performance arts space in the high school.

The first question about elementary schools passed 5,900 to 3,892. The second question about secondary and alternative schools passed 5,390 to 4,396. The third question about the performing arts center was the closest, passing 4,995 to 4,762.

This morning, I argued that these votes could be seen as a bellwether on education spending and attitudes toward taxation. The Grand Rapids vote was whisker-close, but Brainerd passed with room to spare.

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