The bold headline said it all:

The lede:

JOPLIN, Mo. — Voters in the Joplin School District on Tuesday approved a $62 million bond issue by less than 1 percent of the required majority, giving the district the funds to rebuild schools that were destroyed in the May 22 tornado.

I must say I had serious doubts whether the thing would pass—it required a four-sevenths majority—and there wasn’t much room to spare, but as Superintendent C. J. Huff said this morning, a win is a win.

In Jasper and Newton counties combined the bond issue received 57.68% of the vote—just a tad over the 57.14% needed for passage, a mere 45 vote cushion.

Congratulations to Dr. Huff (who has done unbelievably great work since last May 22) and his staff and the Joplin Globe (the paper supported passage) and all those in the community who worked to see this through.

One commenter on the Globe’s Facebook page said this:

I wish more people realized that great schools attract great employers, which attract great wages. This is an investment in your community, not an expense.

“Investment”? Is that how employers see it? Well, yes.  Here is a paragraph from an accompanying Globe story:

Susan Adams, human resources director for Able Manufacturing & Assembly in Joplin, and Lori Scott Dreiling, human resources manager at Modine Manufacturing in Joplin, said approval of the bond issue will make it easier to recruit people to the area.

“When we recruit from out of the area, the first thing people want to know about is the school system,” Adams said.

Selling them on a community where children attend school in a converted warehouse and a big box store isn’t easy, she said.

“All of this is going to go a long way toward convincing folks this is a community with a viable future,” Adams said.

Dreiling said that when Modine tries to recruit senior managers and specialized positions such as engineers from outside the area, some have a perception that Joplin was blown away by the tornado.

She doesn’t find it hard to make the candidates the job offer, but getting families to visit is tough.

“I had one candidate ask me if school was being held in FEMA trailers,” Dreiling said.

An estimated $185 million worth of investments in our local schools will now materialize rather quickly, Dr. Huff said this morning. All thanks to insurance proceeds, federal and state government funding, and the 4,982 voters who bothered to cast a “yes” vote on Tuesday.

As Susan Adams said, “Hallelujah!”

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  1. 8600 voters is a pathetic total. Our young men and women are dying in a foreign country country, living in awful conditions, away from their families for months, and many coming home maimed. They are doing this in two countries that do not want them there, but whose own people risk their own life just to simply vote.

    Locally, we have been the recipient of the generosity of the entire world this past year. Joplin has been praised for its “can do” spirit, yet only about 17% of Joplin found this issue important enough to go cast a vote for either side. Only about 9% found it necessary to give a little more for our kids.

    Am I out of line here? Am I missing something? I don’t get it.



    • Kabe,

      Your two points, that people didn’t avail themselves of the right to vote–kept secure by our troops–and that a pitifully small number of locals–from a community that received a ton of help from strangers–are well taken.

      You aren’t missing something. I think you’ve got it. Considering what we have gone through as a city this past year, the turnout, whatever position one took, was disappointing.



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