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Election 2014: North Marion levy fails again, with wider gap


The North Marion School District four-year operating levy has failed to pass for the second time.

Backers decided to go out for a second election after a November loss saw a difference of 63 between yes and no voters.

But the May 20 election saw a greater voter turnout (56.48 percent) and an even bigger gap of 179 votes, with 54 percent voting no and 45.6 percent voting yes. Twenty-five of the voters who filled out ballots left the option blank.

“I’m inclined (to think that) unless we can get a group of people to understand what the need is and are willing to support (a levy), beyond the six members of the board, it’s not going (to pass),” Kathy Lewis, North Marion School Board director, said. “Parents are a small percentage of our total voting populace here. We have to find a way to communicate.”

School board Chairwoman Julie Miller pointed out that education is getting increasingly complicated.

“We’re fortunate enough that the state is giving schools more money so we’ll be able to do a few of the things that we feel are necessary,” she said. “But we’re still trying to dig out of the hole and that levy money would have helped so much, for four years, to make up for all the negative years.”

Lewis said the board will have to discuss what to do next because the need is still there. Miller agreed, pointing out that the district can’t go out for a levy unless the lead campaigners are members of the community other than the school board.

“I think we need guidance from the community that that’s something that’s important enough to them that they’re willing to come forward and help us,” she said. “We’ve tried twice now. The school board can’t be the group that promotes it; of course we want it. It has to be supporters that also see the need, the vision, the goal.”