BESSMER - Residents of the Bessemer Area School district rejected a $4.98 million bond referendum to improve the district's two buildings on Tuesday by a slim margin of 62 votes.
33 percent of the 2,800 registered voters in the city and township came to the polls, which were held from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Bessemer City and Township halls.
The BAS bond referendum failed by a vote of 431-493.
Dave Radovich, BAS district administrator, had been spearheading the bond proposal, and was less than pleased with the vote's outcome.
"The kids are the ones that lose tonight," Radovich said. "It's hard to accept, but the people voted and they don't want to spend that money on education right now."
About 51 percent of voters in the city of Bessemer voted against the proposal, with around 58 percent of voters in Bessemer Township voting no.
Radovich wanted to thank all those who voted in favor of the referendum, and the committee that worked hundreds of hours on the project. He said the group will meet for a debriefing and discuss what could have been done differently.
The 19.8-year bond would have made infrastructure, technology and security improvements to the A.D. Johnston and Washington Elementary schools by adding an additional 3.9 mills for Bessemer residents.
The school proposed a $6.67 million bond referendum in spring 2013, but it too failed to receive enough votes to pass.
Radovich said the schools will get by with poor lighting and heating, but the security and technology issues will need to be discussed further within the committee.
"We're going to regroup and see how we can accomplish that with the security and technology," he said. "That's very critical to our children. Those are the two issues we really wanted to address and now we aren't able to."