Hayden school bond vote deadlocked: 427-427 | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden school bond vote deadlocked: 427-427

The red brick exterior of the Hayden schools secondary building belies the problems on the inside, where a kitchen is unusable, a roof has collapsed, there are too many unsecured entrances and geriatric mechanical systems cost a fortune to keep in operation.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The fate of Hayden School District's $22 million school bond issue to build a new middle school and high school could depend on the willingness of nine voters, whose ballots were initially rejected for having problematic signatures, to follow up.

The vote was that close. In fact, the vote count was closer than close. And there could be a recount in the offing.

When all 854 ballots cast in the Hayden School District bond election were counted, there were 427 "yes" votes and 427 "no" votes.

Routt County Clerk Kim Bonner's office confirmed that if the difference between the number of votes for and against a ballot question is less than one-half of 1 percent, it automatically triggers a recount.

But in the meantime, there are nine Hayden district voters who have eight days to go to the county clerk's office and explain their signatures and perhaps change the outcome of the election.

The Hayden School District, with 443 students, was seeking voter permission to replace old school buildings that have proven to be unsound in the past and have antiquated mechanical systems. Voters were asked to approve a $22.3 million bond issue and a property tax increase to pay off the indebtedness, which was estimated to cost taxpayers $9.75 a month for every $100,000 of assessed  valuation on their homes.

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The enticement the school district presented to voters was, that should the bond issue pass, the district could be eligible for a $41 million grant from the Colorado Department of Education to cover the majority of the cost to build the new schools.

School Board President Brian Hoza was willing to look on the bright side on election night.

"I'm pleased that enough individuals are understanding the issues, that it is a competitive situation," Hoza said. "I think that tells me more individuals are learning about the district and its needs for the future."

If the ballot question passes, the Hayden district would still be wait-listed for the state grant. It needed two of four other school districts to fail to win approval for their own ballot questions in order for Hayden to move up on the wait list.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.

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