PUEBLO — It's a major win for many in Pueblo.
With the passing of Ballot Issue 4A all four high schools will remain open. New schools will be built and improvements will be made at other buildings.
So what's next? Staff with District 60 told News 5 that new buildings will be constructed for Centennial High School and East High School. It will take at least a year to draw up design plans. It's expected that construction will start in 2021 and will take two years to complete.
Dalton Sprouse, director of communications for D60, said, "This is a great day for our school district and maybe one of the most important days our district has ever had."
Approving something like 4A, which means a hike in taxes, isn't something that happens very often in Pueblo.
Ted Johnson, a D60 parent and district employee, said, "I believe it's an opportunity and a first step in people investing in our community."
The measure asked people if the district's debt could be increased to $218 million and increase taxes up to $19.5 million annually to pay for improvements, repairs, and to construct new buildings. The goal for many was to keep all four high schools open, something Centennial High School senior Maya Maes-Johnson fought for.
She said, "It would've been difficult. My aunt went to Centennial and so did my grandma, so there's obviously my family who's been part of that tradition in going to Centennial."
She shared that she sat in on stakeholder meetings and was part of one of the rallies. "I'm really happy. I think the community and the bond campaign - we've put in a lot of work to get this passed."
What makes the win even sweeter for her is that "this was my first time voting so that was a lot of fun too being able to be a part of the process."
The issue - an important one for her dad, Ted Johnson. He said, "I have a younger daughter as well who will be in high school next year and so knowing that could impact her was something we really had to think about."
For Maes-Johnson, a "Yes" vote on 4A from herself, her dad, and thousands of other Puebloans shows "that Pueblo's ready to step up and support the education system."
The district shared that repairs and upgrades will also be made at South High School and Central High School as well as some of the elementary and middle schools. The district wants to start the work right away, but at this point it's expected to begin sometime in 2020. An advisory board will be put together to help during the construction process.