Special election 2023: Kienzle wins GMG board seat

North Tama bond issue narrowly fails

Voting privacy screens set up in the Elberon Community Building in Tama Co. during the special election on Tuesday, March 7. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

A newcomer won a seat on the GMG school board, and a $14.25 million bond issue at North Tama fell just short of a necessary supermajority during special elections held around the area Tuesday.

According to unofficial results posted Tuesday night, Kristine Kienzle of rural Toledo defeated Taylor Woehlk, also of rural Toledo, who had been appointed to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Stacey Duden when Duden accepted a position with the district last fall. Kienzle received a total of 101 votes to Woehlk’s 71 between precincts in Marshall and Tama counties.

GMG voters also overwhelmingly approved the renewal of the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) and the adoption of a new school revenue purpose statement that specifies how the district can use revenues from the SAVE (Secure an Advanced Vision for Education) Fund, once known as the statewide school infrastructure sales and services tax.

The revenue purpose statement passed by a tally of 144 yes votes (84.7 percent) to 26 no votes, and the PPEL renewal got 133 yes votes (81.1 percent) to 31 no votes.

The North Tama bond issue fell just votes shy of receiving the 60 percent supermajority needed to pass, with 411 in favor and 284 opposed. Had it received just six more affirmative votes, it would have passed.

According to Superintendent David Hill, the bond issue, if passed, would have allowed for an 18,000 square foot expansion at the high school to the east of the current building and a 5,600 square foot renovation within the current building along with security upgrades, athletic area reconfiguration, a weight room expansion, paving of the existing back parking lot, and selective maintenance of other areas. As phase 1 of a larger project, it also would have cleared the way for the demolition of the current high school building, which was built in 1917, and its subsequent replacement.