Voters reject Alexander Local School District’s levy again

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB/Report for America) — Voters rejected Alexander Local School District’s operating levy Tuesday night, raising major questions about the district’s financial future.

This was the second time that voters declined to renew the levy, which originally passed by a single vote in 2019 after five failed attempts. Before Tuesday’s vote, the district warned it will have to cut staff and add new student fees if the levy is not renewed by the end of 2024.

“I’m surprised and disappointed by the lack of support from our community,” said Alexander Superintendent William Hampton. “We have a wonderful school system and I really felt that they were behind us on this.”

According to the unofficial election results, the final vote was 1,404 to 1,189, a difference of 215 votes. The margin was narrower than it was in November, when it failed by 341 votes.

Alexander was also not alone this time around. Several school districts throughout the region saw their levies defeated in the Tuesday primary. That was a marked difference from November, when most levies passed.

A scanned copy showing that the Secretary of State's office approved the incorrect ballot language for the Alexander school levy.
This is a scanned copy showing that the Secretary of State’s office approved the incorrect ballot language for the Alexander levy. The office should have compared the language to what Alexander submitted and seen the discrepancy. [Theo Peck-Suzuki | WOUB Public Media]
The election was further complicated after revelations that the language on the ballot incorrectly described what the levy would tax.

Hampton said the district will decide how to proceed at its next board meeting.

“We have a lot of big decisions to make right now. Decisions that are likely to be impactful to the fall,” he said.

This includes deciding whether to put the levy on the ballot a third and final time in the 2024 general election in November. Hampton said he expects the presidential race to make things more difficult.

The general election would be the district’s last opportunity to pass the levy and collect taxes from it the following year.

WOUB student reporter Parker Kopronica contributed to this report.