“We had a vocal opposition to the referendum,” said Pichardo. “A local group of Muncie landlords were against the project. Some misinformation was put out Monday night before the election and that didn’t give us enough time to respond to it.”
Muncie is a high-rent city due in large part to Ball State University. The University did not take a position on the referendum.
Pichardo said that not only is the corporation dealing with the bus issues, but also the possible consolidation of the city’s two public high schools, Muncie Central and Muncie South.
“People were told that if they voted no it’d save the schools from consolidation,” said Pichardo. “And that’s not the case.”
The measure in Muncie was defeated with 4,448 (53.89) “no” votes to 3,806 (46.11) “yes” votes.
According to Pichardo, if nothing changes, Muncie will join Franklin Township in not providing busing to students.
Pichardo said Franklin Township attempted to charge a fee for busing but legislation from the statehouse makes that illegal.
Not only does the referendum’s defeat affect students, more than 80 bus drivers will be without jobs. M & M Bus Company is contracted to provide bus services for Muncie schools and Pichardo said Tuesday’s night’s loss would essentially put the company out of business.
On the other end of the emotional specturm, since the referendum passed, Goshen High School band director Tom Cox couldn’t stop smiling Wednesday.
“Well, I feel amazing. I really do not know how we would have made it work if it failed. Knowing that a solution is on the horizon is a huge weight being lifted off of our shoulders (music department),” said Cox. “I am deeply grateful that the Goshen community decided to help us. I have always known that Goshen is a great place to teach music and the community support is wonderful.”
And Woodworth shared her thoughts on why the referendums failed in the other districts.
“Maybe our project made sense to people, from an economic standpoint?” she said. “I think (although I am not sure) that the Muncie and Michigan City issues were about operating funds for transportation and Capital Projects Fund, rather than a building project.”
Night editor Daniel Riordan contributed to this article.