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MANSFIELD — It appears voters in the Madison Local School District have passed a new operating levy, though the slim margin will likely trigger an automatic recount.
Madison’s 7.5 mill, 5-year operating levy passed by just 11 votes, according to final, unofficial vote totals from the Richland County Board of Elections.
Residents voted 3,612 to 3,601 in favor of the measure. In other words, 50.08 percent of residents supported the measure, with the remaining 49.92 percent voting no.
The Richland County Board of Elections automatically recounts any election result with a margin of half a percent or less, according to director Matt Finfgeld.
But final tallies won’t be determined until 10 days after election day, when outstanding absentee and provisional ballots are certified.
“Obviously, we are hopeful that the passage of the levy and the outcome stands, but we will be patient and see the process through to the end,” Madison Supt. Rob Peterson said.
“We know that there still may be some absentee and/or provisional ballots yet to be counted. It is our hope and prayer that enough of those go our way that we’ll be able to celebrate the victory soon enough.
Assuming its approval, the levy will generate approximately $3.36 million per year for the school district. Collection will begin in 2024.
“I want to thank our levy committee members, who worked diligently to share the district’s message and get the levy passed,” Peterson said.
“I would like thank all of our yes voters for their support; and I would like to thank all those who had the district in their thoughts and prayers as we approached the election.”
According to Peterson, the last time Madison passed a new operating levy was 1997. In September, he and Madison treasurer Bradd Stevens said the district would have to cut nearly $4 million in expenditures if the levy didn’t pass.
Proposed cuts included eliminating 47 staff members, closing Mifflin Elementary School, reducing bussing and implementing pay-to-participate fees for sports and clubs.
Peterson said if the levy doesn’t pass, the district will likely be back on the ballot in March.