Tt was thought to have passed Tuesday night with 96 votes in favor and 95 against. However, on Wednesday afternoon it didn’t, by the same count.
Then there was a recount Friday afternoon that took longer than expected to reconcile, but ultimately a four mill tax increase sought for the Magazine School District was defeated by a single vote, 96-95, in a total certified Friday by the Logan County Election Commission.
The issue with the recount, which was called for by the Logan County Election Commission, was because the number of ballots cast at the polls was repeatedly one more than the number of votes in the recount.
At that point, there were 87 votes for the measure and 79 against for a total of 166 votes, although 167 had signed in to vote on Tuesday.
Ballot stubs 1-167 were also used during the vote.
An additional ballot was later found folded and inside the ballot stub box.
That ballot was marked somewhat confusingly though all commissioners and the poll worker selected as counters agreed the ballot was a vote “for” the increase.
One of the poll workers who worked the Gloria Perry Community Center on Tuesday was called and asked if workers had decided to take the ballot out, but the worker was unsure of how the ballot got in the box.
Counting that vote there were 88 for the increase on election day meant the vote count matched the reported total, and with another seven were cast for the increase during early voting period there were 95 total “for” votes.
Commissioner Russ Parish noted disqualifying, or counting, the ballot would not have changed the outcome of the vote.
The “against” election day recount total matched the 79 reported on election night, and with the 17 votes cast early against the increase, there were 96 votes opposing the request.
To be certain there were no other confusing selections Magazine Schools Superintendent Dr. Beth Shumate was permitted to view each of the ballots.
Shumate also asked commissioners if they could be certain there were no more ballots in other boxes and was told no because all 167 had been accounted for at that point.
She was also told the outcome could be challenged if the school’s attorney wished to pursue it.
Logan County Clerk Peggy Fitzjurls apologized for the initial confusion saying she just made an error in interpreting the outcome Tuesday night.
The increase was requested by the school district, according to superintendent Shumate, to cover unfunded mandates and to authorize refunding bonded debt, which would have provided about $1.65 million in construction funding for paving, security enhancements and other projects.
Unfunded mandates, Shumate said, include a dyslexia program, a computer science course, CPR and Stop the Bleed training, distance learning fees, and an expulsion program as school districts are now required to provide digital learning opportunities for any student expelled from school.
If passed the school millage collected annually would have climbed to 43 and overall collection rates would become 50.9 mills for Magazine rural because of an addition of 3 mills each for the county general and county road funds and 1.9 mills for the library.
The overall collection within the city of Magazine would have climbed to 53.4 because the city collects 2.5 mills, and the overall rate within the city of Blue Mountain becomes 52.9 with the 2 mills it collects.