MOUNT VERNON — Two out of five school levies on Tuesday’s ballots passed, according to unofficial election results. Mount Vernon and Johnstown voters approved operating money for their schools; Northridge’s count is too close to call at this time. Danville and North Fork school district residents rejected issues in their districts.
Steve Short, Mount Vernon City School superintendent, said he is pleased that district residents approved the renewal of a five-year, 2.11-mill property tax levy for operating expenses. Unofficial results show that 61 percent of the electors were for the tax levy and 39 percent voted against its passage.
“I’m happy for the students and kids that go to school in the Mount Vernon City Schools,” Short said. “I thank this community for its support. ... We still have to roll our sleeves up, we still have to go to work. We still have to work at earning the trust and making things happen that are using the taxpayers’ money in the best way we can for students.”
Using a homeowner analogy, Short explained how the operating money is used.
“One checkbook maybe deals with taking care of the house and taking care of upgrades and major repairs,” he said. “Then you have a checkbook with money that runs the house. This renewal levy is money that would run the house — general fund money.”
Johnstown-Monroe voters — by 61 percent to 39 percent — supported a five-year property tax levy in the amount of 9.6 mills.
“We’re ecstatic,” said Superintendent Damien Bawn. “It’s so impressive. It’s really hard times and that makes us appreciate this even more. But we all kind of said to each other, ‘This is what America is all about. Even in hard times, for people to pull together like this and say, you know what, maybe it’s time we restructure our priorities and make sure that we’re supporting the things that really matter.’ We think that’s what happened today.
“This gives us an opportunity to breathe new life into our schools,” Bawn continued, “and provides the support necessary to help revitalize our programs and continue working for our children, our community and our future. And that’s what we’re going to do.”
Northridge Local school district voters narrowly passed a 9.9-mill emergency operating levy. However, said superintendent John Shepard, “It’s too early to call a victory or loss. Unfortunately, we will need to wait for all three counties to certify the votes over the next few weeks.”
Dan Harper, Danville Local School District superintendent, said he is disappointed the 1.25 percent school income tax issue failed by five votes; 310 against the tax and 305 for the tax. Harper expressed his appreciation to the voters who did support the levy, and when asked what comes next, he said, “This means we will have to be back on the ballot in November, and we’ll just have to work a little harder.”
He also said this ballot outcome could be a good example to emphasize to people that individual, single votes can make a difference.
North Fork Local School district residents rejected a proposed 2.5 mill bond issue for constructing and renovating facilities. Thirty-one percent of residents voted for the issue; 69 percent voted against it. As the result, said board of education president Bernard Snow, “the junior high will not be remodeled and we will probably not go out again for two years. We will just have to work with what we’ve got and move forward.”
Election results will not be officially certified until May 26.