Preble Shawnee levy losing by tiny margin; recount next

Preble Shawnee had hoped to build two new schools with a mix of state and local funding.
Preble Shawnee had hoped to build two new schools with a mix of state and local funding.

Preble Shawnee schools learned Thursday after counting of provisional ballots that their May 2 bond issue appears headed for defeat, according to Superintendent Matt Bishop.

The combination 2.5-mill bond levy and 0.75 percent income tax was trailing by 13 votes out of 2,600 after election night. On Thursday, the Preble County Board of Elections counted valid provisional ballots — those that were cast on Election Day by voters whose eligibility had to be verified.

Now, the ballot issue is behind by six votes out of 2,600-plus.

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By state law, a recount is required, because the margin is less than one-half of one percent. But Bishop said he doesn’t expect the recount to flip the result. The district will not put the issue back on the August ballot, and Bishop said he hopes to schedule a school board meeting in the coming weeks.

“We can look at the two elections, and how close we came, and see if we think it’s worth going down that road again, or should we shift gears?” Bishop said. “The best thing is to have everybody talk through their thoughts on issue.”

Had the issue passed, Preble Shawnee would have replaced a 1982 high school and two elementaries with 80 to 100-year-old roots, by building one new elementary in Camden and a middle/high school on the existing site. The state would have contributed more than half of the project cost.

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The bond/income tax combo actually passed when only Preble County voters were counted. But the tiny precincts in Montgomery and Butler counties that send students to Preble Shawnee voted against the measure by a count of 43-9, flipping the result.

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