Two newcomers will take their places on the Clinton School Board.

John Gracyalny and Kassie Shull defeated incumbent Melissa Manthei.

Gracyalny received 1,035 votes, Shull 1,030 and Manthei 857.

Because school board members serve at large, the two seats went to the highest vote-getters.

The first challenge they’ll face?

A referendum that failed by more than 18 percentage points.

The Gazette was not able to reach Shull on Tuesday night for comments.

Gracyalny, who supported the referendum, isn’t sure what to make of such an overwhelming referendum failure.

The district sent out surveys early in the process, and the items that were “absolutely nots” were removed from consideration, Gracyalny said.

“Unfortunately, people weren’t informed, or they didn’t share their concerns the in the community conversations before the board even voted on the referendum,” Gracyalny said.

The board held several informational sessions about the referendum, and those who attended didn’t voice their opposition or offer suggestions, he said.

“It’s very frustrating,” Gracyalny said.

The condition of the facilities will remain a problem, he said.

The cost to fix just one of the schools would be about $41.7 million. That includes asbestos abatement and redoing all the plumbing, which for some reason is routed under the school.

The referendum would have cost $41.99 million, closed the elementary and middle schools, which are more than 60 years old, and built a new 4K through sixth-grade campus on district-owned land next to Clinton High School.

The last time the district had a referendum, it took four tries to pass it.

Gracyalny has been involved in school district activities as a volunteer, but he said he has much to learn. The first couple of months he anticipates “going along with” what the current board is working on.

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