Frenchtown voters roundly rejected a general fund levy request aimed at saving teachers' jobs in the beleaguered school district.

With 100 percent of the votes counted, the $175,000 levy failed, 997 against, 478 in favor.

Voters apparently could not abide by an increase in property taxes as the country continues to feel the effects of a recession and in wake of last year's closure of the Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. pulp mill.

"With everything going on in the district, we understand the situation that voters were placed in hard times," said Frenchtown School Superintendent Randy Cline.

The money was requested to avoid layoffs of at least five teaching positions in the district. All of the district's nontenured teachers were warned that layoffs might occur if the levy failed.

Cline said the district must now decide what to cut - whether those cuts come in programs or staff. But some job losses are all but certain now.

"Obviously, personnel has to take the brunt of the cuts," said Cline, clearly disappointed at Tuesday night's outcome. "We tried to save those positions, but we may not be able to now."

Reporter Jamie Kelly can be reached at 523-5254 or at


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