Dells referendum fails by just 5 votes, recount likely - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Dells referendum fails by just 5 votes, recount likely

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WISCONSIN DELLS (WKOW) -- A referendum for a new high school in the Wisconsin Dells District failed by just five votes Tuesday night.

The district proposed to build a new, $30 million 9-12th grade high school and renovate the current high school to restructure it as a middle school. The effort is to find space for future students.

District Administrator Terry Slack tells 27 News elementary class sizes are on the rise and a bigger middle school is needed. He says the existing high school was built in 1954 and is outdated.  Some middle school students spend time at both the middle and high schools in one day.

Tuesday night, the public voted against the referendum by just five votes. Slack says because of the small margin, it's likely there will be a recount. The district will review initial numbers Wednesday and is still waiting on about a dozen absentee ballots that have yet to be returned.

The district covers five counties and some have not yet sent in all absentees. Absentee ballots will be accepted until 4 p.m. on Friday, which could swing the election. A recount could happen 10 days after that.

Slack tells 27 News if the referendum still fails after a recount, the district will go back to those invested in the process and the school board to determine what to do about space issues moving forward.

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