St. Regis voters pass school levy by 5 votes

2011-06-22T21:00:00Z 2011-06-22T22:41:10Z St. Regis voters pass school levy by 5 votesBy VICTORIA EDWARDS for the Missoulian missoulian.com

 

Keeping with the trend in Mineral County this year, the St. Regis School District's proposed levy narrowly passed Tuesday.

With a difference of just five votes, the roughly $36,000 levy passed by similarly close margins to school levy elections in the Alberton and Superior school districts in May.

Alberton's levy passed by one vote, Superior's by two.

Given the other districts' close elections a month ago, Tina Hill, business manager at the St. Regis School District, said the election was nerve-wracking.

"You're always nervous going into it," she said. "I think it is anytime you have to play the ‘what if' scenario, and what's that going to mean if it passes or doesn't pass."

Without the levy, Hill said the school board would have had to reevaluate programs and positions within the district.

"When it's that large of a dollar amount, the first thing you have to do is look at the staffing levels," she said. "We're extremely thankful to our voters for passing (the levy)," Hill said.

The school district may have benefited from waiting until after the legislative session to hold the election; the other districts in Mineral County held theirs a month ago, before Gov. Brian Schweitzer signed the budget.

"We wanted to give our voters an exact dollar amount," she said. "The board met and made the decision to not run it with the trustee elections, knowing that with a levy the margin might be narrow. The dollar amount we could have been asking for could have been up to $50,000 or as low as $20,000."

Instead, the board asked for $36,201.95 - the exact amount needed to maintain the same funding levels as previous years.

Because the levy passed by such close margins - 75 votes for and 70 against - someone could potentially submit a recount petition to the school board. If voting margins are within one-quarter of 1 percent of the total votes, or 10 or fewer votes, voters may submit a recount petition.

"You would think more toward a recount with one vote," Hill said. She's not expecting a petition.

A recount petition must have at least 10 signatures and be filed within five school days of the district's certification of the results - which must happen within 15 days of the election. Hill said the school board has yet to set a date for the certification of the results.

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