Dissolution defeated: G-R voters overwhelmingly reject plan to end district

At left, a host of signs along Highway 96 in Gladbrook urge voters to support the proposed dissolution of the G-R school district, which failed by a 69 to 31 percent margin on Tuesday. At right, supporters of the district rallied outside of the high school in Reinbeck on Monday night for a prayer vigil. (Left photo by Robert Maharry/Right photo by Jake Ryder)

Contrary to the message emblazoned on signs across the Gladbrook and Lincoln areas, somebody had to win, and somebody had to lose in the battle to dissolve Gladbrook-Reinbeck. That is, after all, the nature of both voting and elections.


Residents of the district, as most predicted, rejected the proposal to divide the territory between Dike-New Hartford, GMG, Grundy Center, Hudson and North Tama by a wide margin on Tuesday: 69 percent voted no, outnumbering the “Yes” voters by more than a two to one margin. Now, the healing process begins, and the leaders behind the push for dissolution are left to scratch their heads and re-enter a loveless marriage between two communities that became bitterly divided in the days leading up to the vote.


A total of 2,235 ballots were cast according to the unofficial results, which, if factoring in the 3,025 figure that was used as the baseline for the 20 percent requirement on petition signatures, means that almost 74 percent of registered voters went to the polls—one of the highest turnout rates for a school election in Iowa history.


“I believe that the election results show that the overwhelming majority of the Gladbrook-Reinbeck community supports the school district and endorses the work that we’re doing,” second year Superintendent David Hill said. “I think with such a strong turnout, we can really say that this is the will of the people of the Gladbrook-Reinbeck school district.”


A poll worker in Reinbeck told The Grundy Register that lines at the Memorial Building stretched outside in the morning, and over 1,000 people had voted by the end of the lunch hour. As they fought to preserve the future of their school district, residents turned out in droves, and 97.7 percent of those in the Reinbeck precinct voted “no.”


“We’ve had people limping and hobbling in on their canes,” the worker said. “Pretty much everyone who can breathe wants to vote today.” 


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