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Mount Angel bond passes, North Marion levy narrowly defeated

Mount Angel School District's $10.4 million bond has been approved by voters, but a supplemental levy in North Marion School District didn't quite make the cut.

Fifty-five percent of voters in Mount Angel voted for the bond, which will be used for major renovations to the district's aging buildings, while about 45 percent voted against. A total of 838 ballots were cast, accounting for 45 percent of registered voters in the area.

"I really appreciate the support," said Superintendent Troy Stoops. "I think the public was well-informed of the facts."

Only three school districts out of 13 districts statewide were able to pass a bond this election, including Mount Angel.

In North Marion, the margin was much closer, with 48.29 percent of voters casting a yes vote versus 51.71 percent voting against the measure. Only 66 more people voted against than those that voted for the levy, which was intended to supplement the district budget after six years of cuts. Superintendent Boyd Keyser said what didn't help the campaign was that property tax bills were mailed the same time as ballots.

"It's tough to get the message out because our communities are smaller and don't have gathering spots or community centers to filter out the information to people," he said. "We recognize this was great opportunity to move the district forward. This was the 'get healthy booster shot' we needed to get us back on track."

One of the reasons Keyser said he thinks the measure failed was because the idea of a supplemental levy was foreign to people, and if they didn't know what they were voting on, they were more inclined to vote no. But Keyser said the school board could decide to try again with the measure in the May election.

"I think we could go back to voters and do a better job of educating them, and also showing how well we manage the money," he said. "I don't know that we spent a lot of time telling them we haven't had massive layoffs, we haven't had furloughs, we've been really frugal and we haven't had the consequences other districts have had. Voters need to know they can trust the district to spend money well."

The Aurora Fire Rural Protection District levy was voted through by a wide margin - 68 percent in favor versus about 31 percent against. About 33 percent of registered voters in the district turned in their ballots.

Election results are posted at www.co.marion.or.us.




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