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Voters Ok Retardation Center

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Ann Arbor School District voters yesterday gave overwhelming support for construction of a Mental Retardation Service Center and, as a result, the bond issued carried by a nearly 3-to-l margin county-wide. Nicholas A. Ianni, superintendent of I the Washtenaw Intermedíate School District, was elated by the results which will perrhit construction of a $2.7 million facility. He is hopeful groundbreaking will take place next summer with the facility ready for occupancy in 1973. The center will be built on a 20-acre site ádjacent to the intermedíate school district's offices at 1819 Wagner Rd. It will be equipped to handle the needs of upwards of 225 mentally retarded children. The bond issue, calling for a levy of 19 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, carried in Arin Arbor by a 6-to-l margin as 7,204 persons cast "yes" votes and 1, 207 cast "no" votes. This was more than enough to offset a loss in the remainder of the county. Voters outside the Ann Arbor School District cast 2,166 "yes" votes and 2,279 "no" votes. It is estimated that no more than 12 per cent of the county's registered voters went to the polls for the special election, the total turnout being 12,856 with an estimated 107,000 eligible. In Ann Arbor, the turnout was 16.2 per cent of registered voters. The bond issue carried in six of the 10 districts and received its largest "no" margin in the Ypsilanti School District where it was defeated 609 to 921. Supporting the issue, outside of Ann Arbor, were Chelsea (232 to 140), Dexter (292 to 188), Milan (258 to 234), Saline (299 to 133), and Willow Run (189 to 172). Districts opposing the bond issue, besides Ypsilanti, were Lincoln (131 to 289), Manchester (93 to 117), and Whitmore Lake (73 to 85). The final margin of victory was nearly 6,000 votes, representing 9,370 "yes" and 3,486 "no" votes. Although it was not decisive to the outcome of the election, an interesting aspect was the student vote. In five student-dominated precincts in Ann bor the bond issue carried better than 10-to-l with 1,096 "yes" and only 64 "no" votes. At the North Campus voting precincts the issue carried 292 to 14 while at the Michigan League it was supported in a 387 to 13 vote. Ann Arbor School District voters cast 65 per cent of the ballots recorded yesterday. Ianni notes that the student vote was not a dominant factor but that if the election had been close this segment of the voting population would have had a decisive role. "It has been a long time since anyone passed a bond issue in Ann Arbor by a 6 to 1 margin," Ianni said. "I'm elated with the results. It's the culmination of six years of hard work by professionals and parents in the county." Norman Quackenboss, executive director of the Washtenaw Association for Retarded Children, had a simple reaction to the results : "It passed!" Quackenboss said he was not surprised by the margin of victory, saying he predicted a 3 to 1 margin but was hoping for 4 to 1. He said the margin "would I show that the community at large I nized the needs of the mentally I icapped." He said campaign efforts were I trated in Ann Arbor, "not so much I tionally but just because we had a better response." He said the voting patterns in the various districts were proportional to the effort put forth. (Apparently the word didn't get into Wayne County, where a portion of the Lincoln Consolidated School District lies. In the Sumpter precinct the bond issue received only one favorable vote, while 74 persons voted against it.) Quackenboss says the new facility will take care of the needs of mentally retarded children in the county for a number of years. He estimates there are between 180 and 200 children who could now make use of the service center. The facility will give services to the p'arents of retarded children as well as to the children themselves. Ianni, summing up why he believes the bond issue passed, said, "It was the right proposition at the right price."