Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) After a long campaign by the Binghamton school district, residents poured into polling locations Monday to show their support for the project.
With 1,469 votes in favor of the project and 390 opposed, the MacArthur school proposal overwhelmingly passed by 79 percent. The proposal required a 60 percent vote to pass.
"On behalf of the Board of Education, the administration, teachers, students, we just want to express our sincere appreciation to all the voters who came out to take the time to vote. We understand that not everyone is in favor of the project and we hope that we can continue to explain to them why this was a very good decision," said Binghamton Superintendent Dr. Marion Martinez.
The board said they plan to follow the timelines presented in the public meetings, and the next steps will be to finalize the design and move forward as architects suggest.
For nearly two years, elementary students have been divided among two former Catholic school buildings. The classroom arrangements were meant to temporary. Following Monday's vote, students and teachers will be able to look forward to accommodations, which officials say will better support learning and educational growth.
The new MacArthur is planned to be built five feet above the floodplain with supportive columns.
The total project cost is $79.9 million, but most of that cost will be paid by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal and state grants. Binghamton will be responsible for $2.9 million, which averages to $6.60 in additional taxes per every $100,000 in property value.
Parents of students in the district said the few extra dollars are well worth it.
Although the 2011 flood ruined the school, Martinez said the community's spirits were not crushed.
"Out of great sadness has come great hope and jubilation," she said.
Plans have the new MacArthur school pegged to welcome students in September of 2015.