By split votes, motions calling for a school bond election failed Wednesday during a Leavenworth Board of Education meeting.

By split votes, motions calling for a school bond election failed Wednesday during a Leavenworth Board of Education meeting.

Board members voted twice on motions that would have put a $36.7 million bond issue before voters in the Leavenworth school district. But each motion failed by a 3-3 vote. Board members Jose Morales, Loyal Torkelson and Nancy Klemp voted against both motions. Board member John Goodman was absent.

"It's just a sad day as far as I'm concerned," said board President Mike Carney, who supported the bond issue.

Carney spoke at the conclusion of the meeting.

"A lot of hard work went into this," he said of the bond issue.

Klemp said she is not opposed to a bond issue. But she argued some things could be eliminated from the proposal to reduce the cost.

"I don't like the way it was figured out moneywise," she said.

The proposed bond issue would have closed Lawson Elementary School as an elementary school, and the building would have been converted into an early education center for all of the district's prekindergarten and kindergarten classes.

The bond issue also would have paid for an addition to Richard Warren Middle School, and the district's fifth-grade classes would have been moved to that campus.

The bond issue also would have paid for renovations at other school buildings.

The bond issue would have addressed overcrowding issues at Warren and Henry Leavenworth Elementary School.

Board members initially were presented a proposal for a $42 million bond issue. But Superintendent Mike Roth told board members last week the state aid that may be available for the current fiscal year would limit the total amount of the bond issue to $36.7 million.

Board Vice President Doug Darling made the first motion Wednesday to put the $36.7 million bond issue before voters. The motion was seconded by board member Alisa Murphy.

After this motion failed, Carney read a motion, asking that the board put forth the bond issue to voters "to enhance safety and security of the district, while also addressing our school buildings that have capacity issues, and creating collaborative learning spaces throughout the district."

Murphy provided a second to this motion, which also failed.

Roth said this eliminates the opportunity for a bond issue for the rest of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

"You have to be prepared for a plan B," he said.

After the meeting, Roth said a plan B could include adjusting the attendance area boundaries for the district's elementary schools as well as spending money from a capital outlay fund to address issues at Warren Middle School.

"We know we have to add space because of safety concerns," he said.

Darling said during Wednesday's meeting that the school board needs to come together to come up with a plan that is supported by all board members.

Murphy said schools in the district are overcrowded. She said Warren Middle School needs a storm shelter.

"I want more for our kids," she said.

Torkelson said he had heard from people in the community who did not support the bond issue.

"I listen to my constituents," he said.

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