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Board president reacts to school levy vote

"My fellow board members are saddened by this especially because this is the second time it's lost by 1 percent. But as an educator and a historian, I really see this as a reflection of what our nation is going through right now,” Joe Barbosa, School Board President said.

Posted: Nov 4, 2021 10:42 AM

(SAVANNAH, Mo.) Savannah school leaders woke up once again with the task of heading back to the drawing board.

The 15-cent school tax levy failed by less than 30 votes, again.

"My fellow board members are saddened by this especially because this is the second time it's lost by 1 percent. But as an educator and a historian, I really see this as a reflection of what our nation is going through right now,” Joe Barbosa, School Board President said.

It was the most conservative tax levy pitched to voters yet, designed solely to attack some of the maintenance issues piling up for the Savannah school district.

School board president Joe Barbosa says the reactions have been mixed.

"Some are happy. They believe this is a way to keep the board in check, the district in check. I've had a lot of people reach out to me and say, 'Let's go ahead and do it again. Let's get back on the horse and continue to try to convince people this is the need,” Barbosa said.

He says many voters who cast a "no" argue that the school district produces great students and people so there's nothing to fix.

"Our students today deserve to be great people and have the resources of modern technology and broadband, a science lab, an Ag. lab, a technology lab where they can try out new careers and new opportunities for them,” Barbosa said.

The people who voted for the measure to pass, Barbosa says, are calling and emailing non-stop, worried about what happens now.

"I'm going to make it very clear. I and my fellow board members don't want to close schools. Our schools are a huge centerpoint of our community// I want those schools to continue but as I've said throughout. We've got to find a way to maintain what we have and right now we are really struggling to do so,” Barbosa said.

He says the board is dedicated to finding solutions, when parents said they wanted access to board meetings, they started live streaming, when they saw a need for health occupation courses and a building trade program, they made that happen.

Barbosa says this will be no different.

"But I'll be honest it's going to take a second to figure out what that solution is,” Barbosa said.

The Savannah school board will meet in two weeks for a work session to discuss next steps.

Their next regular board meeting is November 18 at 7 p.m.

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