Xenia Schools income tax levy fails by one vote after recount

Credit: Ty Greenlees

Credit: Ty Greenlees

One of two Xenia Community Schools renewal levies on the Nov. 8 ballot has failed by a single vote after a recount by the Greene County Board of Elections.

Xenia school district voters were asked this November to renew a 0.5% income tax for a period of seven more years.

The levy was previously thought to have passed on election night. However, election officials later discovered that the final batch of late-arriving absentee ballots countywide (ballots that were postmarked on time, but arrived at the BOE after Election Day) were not tabulated into the final results “due to human error,” Board of Elections Director Alisha Lampert said.

The final tally included 6,330 votes in favor of the levy, with 6,331 votes against. The tally includes a small amount from voters who live in the Xenia school district in Warren County.

“We are, of course, disappointed by this outcome, but heartened by the support of so many of you,” said Xenia Superintendent Gabe Lofton in a statement Monday.

Lofton added that uncertainty about the outcome of the levy more than a month after election day has been “stressful and confusing for our school staff and families, especially given the unusual circumstances of the certification.”

“I want you to know that I feel much the same, but I do want to encourage you to trust in the sometimes-messy process that is democracy — even when it does not go the way we might have wished,” he said.

The operating levies provides “critical” funding to support day-to-day learning, Lofton said.

The Board of Education will make a decision in early 2023 about whether to put this closely-decided matter back before the voters in May.

The Board of Elections has requested the ability to re-scan all ballots across the entire county, and re-upload the results from voting machines, “out of an abundance of caution, and in the best interest of Greene County voters,” Lampert said Monday.

“By doing so, we can provide full and transparent confidence in the final results of all races that were on the November 8,” she said.

The rescanning process will be completed by Wednesday, at which point the board will formally amend the final official election results.

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