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Mascoma Bond Recount Yields 2 More ‘No’ Votes

“We’re done,” says George Curran, as he and Susan Frost finish counting their pile of votes during yesterday’s recount of the Mascoma Valley Regional High School renovation proposal at the Enfield Village School. (Jeffrey Porter photograph)

“We’re done,” says George Curran, as he and Susan Frost finish counting their pile of votes during yesterday’s recount of the Mascoma Valley Regional High School renovation proposal at the Enfield Village School. (Jeffrey Porter photograph)

Enfield — A recount of the razor-thin Mascoma Valley Regional High School renovation bond vote only strengthened the result, as the $21.8 million bond issue again failed to garner the 60 percent majority it needed to pass.

In fact, it missed by a slightly bigger margin, with 1,809 in favor and 1,245 opposed — a net of two additional “no” votes.

The extra ballots lowered the total percentage of affirmative votes by one-tenth of 1 percent, to 59.2 percent.

The writing seemed to be on the wall early yesterday during the 21/2-hour recount at the Enfield Village School. Ballot counters for several of the five towns served by the Mascoma Valley Regional School District quickly turned in meagerly changed numbers, and in Enfield, the town in the district with the most votes to give, just a single additional “yes” vote was found.

At around noon, District Clerk Stella Butterfield ventured over to the table populated by School Board members to read the latest Canaan results, the last of the day, which came out to be one more “yes” and one more “no.” The ballots canceled each other out, meaning the bond had still failed overall. The results were met by a flurry of affirmatives from the board.

“The vote is what the vote is,” School Board Chairman Jim Gerding said afterward.

In Dorchester, there was no net change due to the recount, meaning the bond still failed there, 49-91. In Grafton, there was a net gain of one “no” vote, so the bond failed 216-307. Orange lost a “yes” vote and gained a “no” vote, leaving the town with 67 votes for the bond and 74 against.

In Enfield, the bond passed 852-332. In Canaan, it passed 625-441.

The confirmed final vote marks the third time that a large-scale high school bond proposal has been turned down by district voters. In 2008, a $39.5 million bond issue for an entirely new high school went down; last year, a $23.8 million renovation bond identical to this year’s — except for $2 million more worth of energy upgrades that voters passed this year in a separate article — failed as well.

Mascoma High School was built in 1963 and has never been through a major renovation. With the bond’s failure confirmed yesterday, some teachers will still be required to push around carts of their materials between open classrooms, and a sprinkler system will not be installed in the school.

Had the renovation been approved, it would have included a new gym floor for the high school, a new parking lot and a new auditorium.

Gerding said the board will discuss its next steps at future meetings.

Jon Wolper can be reached at jwolper@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.