West Clark voters say NO! to referendum PDF Print E-mail
Written by Janna Ross   
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 07:01

Voters in the West Clark Community School District went to the polls for a special election on Tuesday, November 7. The special election was held to determine a $95 million referendum that would be used to complete projects throughout the eight buildings of the school district on the Silver Creek, Borden and Henryville campuses.

West Clark residents answered as 69.95 percent of the votes cast were opposed to the referendum. There are 16 precincts in the West Clark School District including 23,053 registered voters. The special election tallied 7,752 ballots cast or 33.63 percent of the registered voters.

Superintendent Chad Shenck said he new the vote could either be close or lopsided.

“We knew if the voters would get out in Sellersburg that it would be close and the potential would be there for the math to work for a victory,” he said. “We also knew the flip coin to that was if the voters did not get out in Sellersburg Proper it would be a battle and it could very easily be a 70-30 split. That held true, voters did not come out in large numbers in Sellersburg and Silver Creek Township and it was to the demise of the overall project and we are going to have to start over.”

Henryville Representative Brian Guernsey said he felt like there were a number of reasons the vote was so lopsided.

“I think the biggest thing was the tax implication,” Guernsey said. “Then I think there was some mistrust of the administration and the school board because of a lot of incorrect information that didn’t necessarily come from us.”

Schenck said fighting that misinformation and the mistrust was tiring, but he knows it’s part of the job.

“It was tiresome,” he said. “(Fighting the misinformation) is something you know you have to do, you’re transparent, you say the truth, you mean the truth, you produce the documents and try to calm fears and the opposition doesn’t have to do any of that. The opposition doesn’t have to share factual information and can campaign on misinformation and a lot of other things.”

For now, the school corporation will function as usual on a day-to-day basis, but the ramifications of the referendum vote are already being felt. The board voted 5-0 for Silver Creek to withdraw from the West Clark system at its regular meeting Thursday. (For more information about that see story in this edition.)

Throughout the process Schenck was one of the people who was speaking on behalf of the referendum passing. He said he is most frustrated by the vote not passing, because he feels there is so much potential that not having the facility upgrades gets in the way of West Clark’s potential for future growth.

“I think the most frustrating part for me is the idea, ‘We must learn from our history, or we are doomed to repeat it,’” Shenck said. “I think we have a present situation here, with great students and great academic reputation, we have a region that’s on the cusp of booming with 25,000 jobs coming into River Ridge – that’s our present – and we should be shaping our present to align with our future. We need to be making decisions to take care of ourselves in the future and unfortunately, it seems like we are going back and digging up the history that is unfortunately going to shape our future.”

Voters overwhelmingly disagreed with more than double voting against the referendum. Below is the breakdown by Precinct as to how the voting went:

The final tally was 5,402 No votes (69.95 percent) to 2,321 Yes votes (30.05 percent).

The breakdown of precincts included:

*Carr 01- Yes- 421 votes for 31.28 percent to No- 925 votes for 68.72 percent.

*Monroe 01- Yes- 28 votes for 5.43 percent to No- 488 votes for 94.57 percent.

*Monroe 02- Yes- 67 votes for 10.74 percent to No- 557 votes for 89.26 percent.

*Monroe 03- Yes- 24 votes for 5.50 percent to No- 412 votes for 94.50 percent.

*Silver Creek- Clarksville 43- Yes- 380 votes for 59.94 percent to No- 254 votes for 40.06 percent.

*Silver Creek 01- Yes- 175 votes for 55.56 percent to No- 140 votes for 44.44 percent.

*Silver Creek 02- Yes- 93 votes for 53.14 percent to No- 82 votes for 46.86 percent.

*Silver Creek 03- Yes- 164 votes for 55.97 percent to No- 129 votes for 44.03 percent.

*Silver Creek 04- Yes- 198 votes for 49.01 percent to No- 206 votes for 50.99 percent.

*Silver Creek 05- Yes- 49 votes for 42.98 percent to No- 65 votes for 57.02 percent.

*Silver Creek 06- Yes- 458 votes for 54.72 percent to No- 379 votes for 45.28 percent.

*Silver Creek 07- Yes- 57 votes for 40.43 percent to No- 84 votes for 59.57 percent.

*Union 01- Yes- 156 votes for 14.89 percent to No- 892 votes for 85.11 percent.

*Wood 01- Yes- 16 votes for 7.24 percent to No- 205 votes for 92.76 percent.

*Wood 02- Yes- 24 votes for 5.54 percent to No- 409 votes for 94.46 percent.

*Wood 03- Yes- 11 votes for 5.91 percent to No- 175 votes for 94.09 percent.

George Browning also contributed to this story. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .