Athens County Board of Elections officials confirmed today (Monday) that Alexander Local School District’s 1% earned-income-tax levy passed by a single vote after an official state-mandated recount of the Board of Elections’ official tally for the primary election on May 7.
The total number of votes for the levy was 1,184, while the total number of votes against the levy was 1,183, elections officials confirmed today (June 3).
Because of the slim margin between the vote totals, an official recount was required to occur per Ohio law (since the difference between yes and no fell within half of 1 percent of the total vote). That recount happened today, and it reaffirmed the Board of Election’s certification count that occurred in late May.
Alexander Supt. Lindy Douglas previously said she and her district’s students and staff were excited about the levy passing.
“We were very excited to hear the final results,” Douglas said at the time when the vote total was certified last month. “We are thankful for all the hard work and time the levy committee, community supporters, and staff put into this levy. We thank those who support the school district, our students, and the programs that we are able to offer within our school.”
The 1% earned-income-tax levy, meant to fund operating expenses for the Alexander Local School District, tentatively passed during the primary election on May 7 by a tight five-vote margin. The vote at that time was 1,177 votes in favor to 1,172 votes opposed.
Parents, teachers and administrators have advocated for the last three years that voters pass a levy to cover operating costs in the district, and before May 7 these efforts had met with five failures. This was Alexander’s sixth attempt to pass a levy, without which administrators said the district would face a $1.5 million budget deficit by fiscal year 2023.
District administrators had said the funds are desperately needed as the district has not received an increase in funding since the late 1990s, and costs continue to rise each year with inflation.
Critics, meanwhile, have charged that the school district has not been a good steward of taxpayer money, citing a long-running legal dispute between the village of Albany and the district over a Wellness Center constructed on the Alexander High School campus in recent years, which had become enmeshed in a lawsuit with the village of Albany over sewer tap-in fees.
The NEWS reported earlier this month that representatives for Alexander and the village of Albany finally had come to a mutual agreement to resolve that situation.
The Alexander district is mainly located in western and southwestern Athens County, though it also has small areas in adjoining Meigs and Vinton counties. In Athens and Vinton counties, the operating levy lost 1039 to 1,026. However, the margin of victory in Meigs County, where the levy won 158 to 144, was sufficient to overcome the deficit in Athens/Vinton counties. (The small number of Alexander voters in Vinton County voted at Alexander High School, so their numbers were counted with Athens County’s numbers.)