The outcome of three new school levies in Tuesday’s election hangs on fewer than 60 votes in each district and will not be known for at least 10 days.
Unofficial results have the Beavercreek City Schools’ five-year, 6.3-mill emergency levy failing by 29 votes. Brookville Local Schools’ 4.8-mill measure failed by 51 votes. Vandalia-Butler City Schools’ 6.99-mill operating levy passed by 58 votes.
Final results will not be known until at least Nov. 16 when late-arriving absentee ballots and provisional ballots are counted. Under state law, boards of elections have 10 days to allow provisional voters to provide missing information or absentee voters to correct mistakes made on the identification envelope.
The possibility of an automatic recount is likely in the Beavercreek balloting, where the unofficial count had it losing 8,122 to 8,093.
Of the seven Montgomery and Greene county districts asking for new money, four were approved, two defeated and Beavercreek remains too close to call. The Greene County Board of Elections has 93 provisional ballots from Beavercreek residents that will be counted Nov. 19, according to Llyn McCoy, deputy director.
State law requires an automatic recount if the margin of victory or defeat is less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the total number of voters, or around 81 in Beavercreek. McCoy said a recount could be done anywhere from 5 to 10 days after the state Attorney General orders one.
Neither the margin of defeat in Brookville nor the margin of victory in Vandalia-Butler appear to qualify for an automatic recount, said Jan Kelly, Montgomery County Board of Elections director.
“At this point, we have to wait for the official count to see what we actually have,” said Al Nels, Beavercreek school board president.
If the levy is defeated, it would be the fifth consecutive defeat of new levy in the past 2 1/2 years. “The board will go through the budget line item by line item” looking for possible cuts, Nels said.
Superintendent Bill McGlothlin said he had previously scheduled a regular meeting of school administrators for Monday. “We will be talking about reducing operational expenses,” McGlothlin said. He said personnel would not be discussed “at this time.”
The district has cut nearly $6 million in personnel cost through staff attrition and retirement, and negotiated agreements to contain health care costs.
There is a possibility of a recount of the 3,770 to 3,712 victory.
“It’s my understanding that a vote ‘No’ group is going to request one for our levy,” said first-year Vandalia-Butler superintendent Brad Neavin.
The operating levy had been defeated three consecutive times before Tuesday.
Neavin said if Vandalia-Butler’s levy had failed again, “We would have been looking at a takeover by the state in the near future. It’s very clear that our community wants us to be completely transparent about how we spend our dollars.”
After failing in May by two votes, Brookville’s request for additional money went down by 51 votes out of 2,627 cast.
“We had been so close in May, we hoped we could turn the tide,” Superintendent Timothy Hopkins said. “But there’s no consolation in being close. We’ll regroup with our board and decide what our options are moving forward.”
Hopkins believes a hotly contested township trustee race in the district hurt the levy’s chances.
“I don’t know if we have ever had a winning margin for a school levy in our township precincts. We did well in the city, but lost in township precincts at a rate we couldn’t overcome,” he said. Voter turnout in those precincts was 26 percent in May, but 42 percent on Tuesday.
Bigger margins on both sides
Springboro’s renewal and reduction request had a 76 percent approval.
Almost 63 percent of 7,623 voters rejected Huber Heights City Schools’ request for 5.95 mills, the district’s fourth consecutive levy defeat. Superintendent Sue Gunnell said there has been no decision yet about whether the district will have another levy on the ballot in May or November 2014.
Oakwood voters approved a 5.75-mill additional levy by an almost 58 percent rate.
After two consecutive narrow defeats, Centerville Schools asked for 5.9 additional mills and received 57 percent approval.
Kettering’s five-year, 4.89-mill issue passed by almost 55 percent. Superintendent James Schoenlein credited the district’s “smart, targeted, strategic and aggressive campaign” for the levy’s passage.
Jefferson Twp. voters rejected a 5.5-mill renewal levy, one of only two renewals out of 76 statewide to be voted down.
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