---- — As the votes continued to add up in their favor Tuesday night at the Elkhart County office building, a steady stream of relief washed over the faces of Goshen Community Schools’ board president Jane Troup and Superintendent Diane Woodworth.
They had done all they could do. They had presented a $17.15 million schools construction project to the public. For months they had answered all the questions they could prior to Tuesday’s special election on that project. They had even cast their own ballots. Finally, at 7:31 p.m., 91 minutes after polls throughout Goshen had closed, victory had arrived.
THE REFERENDUM THAT WILL provide a new pool for the corporation and add and remodel space at Goshen High School and Goshen Middle School to the huge benefit of music and physical education programs was passed by a vote of 2,099 to 1,341.
“Now,” Woodworth mentioned several times immediately after the final count, “the work really begins.”
We are happy to hear that. The Goshen News supports this project because it is in the best interest of the city’s future. It is an investment in ourselves that will make us stronger years down the road. While Troup and Woodworth shared a victory high-five Tuesday night, this referendum is a victory for the entire community. The last major renovation for Goshen High School was in 1998. Everything that is promised in this project, was left out of that project to keep costs down. A broader construction project was scrapped by school officials in 2009 because of the recession, which was the right decision at the time.
TODAY WE ARE proud of all 3,440 people who stepped up and cast a ballot on this important community matter, regardless of how they voted. Out of 22,425 eligible voters within the school corporation boundaries, that represents a voter turnout of 15.34 percent. That low turnout isn’t surprising considering there was only one question on the ballot, but it is perplexing. Tuesday’s vote represented a direct and defined financial impact on Goshen property owners. Last year’s presidential election, by comparison, drew 55 percent of Elkhart County voters to the polls. The 2008 presidential election saw a 65 percent turnout in the county.
DESPITE THE LOW TURNOUT, at the end of the day this project is the right thing for Goshen. It is proportionate with what we can afford and appropriate for what we need. The current pool at Goshen High School turns 52 today. It’s time. Our high-caliber music programs have grown dramatically and students are practicing their instruments in the hallways. It’s time. Some of our middle school students are eating their lunch at 10:30 a.m., the first of four lunch periods, in order for all students to be fed throughout a normal school day. It’s time.
Tuesday’s vote wasn’t about Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals. It was about a community assessing a need, determining the cost and making a responsible decision. That’s life, not politics. Good job, Goshen.