Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) sending towns -- Duxbury, Fayston, Moretown, Waitsfield, Warren and Waterbury -- voted down a $59.5 million bond to repair and improve the Harwood Union High School building and expand Crossett Brook Middle School. The bond proposal included a second gym and new track at Harwood. Voters overwhelmingly voted “no” on the bond, 2,599 (73%) to 975 (27%).
An aggregated 32% of registered voters across the six towns cast a ballot on Tuesday, November 2. The total votes included 426 of 1,160 registered voters in Duxbury; 415 of 1,281 registered in Fayston; 488 out of 1,457 registered voters in Moretown; 557 out of 1,487 voters in Waitsfield; 474 out of 1,513 registered in Warren; and 1,217 votes cast out of 4,375 registered voters in Waterbury.
“The resounding ‘no’ vote is definitely a disappointment,” said school board chair Torrey Smith. “Our board worked intensively over the last several years to find agreement on what to include in the bond, and this proposal was overwhelmingly supported by our board members. How are we going to pay for the high school repairs that are so long overdue? Is there any hope of bringing the Harwood building from the 1960s into the 2020s and beyond?”
With seven of the 14 school board seats up for re-election in March, much of the work to develop a plan for needed repairs and improvements will likely fall on the newly-elected board, at a time when the board is also conducting a search for a new superintendent.
“I look forward to our next meeting on November 10 when board members can share their thoughts as we try to understand the implications of the ‘no’ vote and begin to consider possible next steps,” Smith said.