XENIA — The half-percent income tax renewal for Xenia Community Schools officially failed by one vote after a recount that lasted more than a week was certified by the board of elections at a special meeting Monday.
The final tally, BOE Director Alisha Lampert said, was 6,331 against the renewal and 6,330 for the renewal. That represents the third and final change in the renewal’s status, which went from leading after election night to being tied after a number of scanned but untabulated ballots were discovered, causing the certified results to be amended.
Prior to beginning the recount, the vote was tied at 6,302.
“We are, of course, disappointed by this outcome but heartened by the support of so many of you,” Superintendent Dr. Gabe Lofton said in an email. “Overall, I know that uncertainty about the outcome of the levy more than one month after election day has been stressful and confusing for our school staff and families, especially given the unusual circumstances of the certification. I want you to know that I feel much the same, but I do want to encourage you to trust in the sometimes-messy process that is democracy — even when it does not go the way we might have wished.”
The recount was triggered because the final result was so close. According to Ohio laws, an automatic recount must be conducted when the difference between votes for and against is equal to or less than one-half of one percent of the total votes cast for that particular issue, or when it ends in a tie. The district requested a full recount of all votes instead of the board verifying only 5 percent of the ballots cast, as allowed by Ohio elections law, Lofton said.
The board also announced Monday that it will rescan every ballot cast in the county because of inconsistencies with the recount, according to Lampert.
“(We want to) ensure that Greene County voters can be confident that their vote was counted,” she said, adding that the ballots have been rescanned four times already but board officials want to make sure nothing else was missed.
“(The outcome is) not going to change,” Lampert said.
The board will hold another meeting Wednesday to amend the official canvass, which will include the aforementioned rescan.
Xenia school officials said they will not be deterred by the election’s outcome.
“As I have mentioned in the past, these operating levies provide critical funding to support day-to-day learning in our classrooms, and we will make plans to move the district forward in a positive way, regardless of this outcome,” Lofton said. “In addition, please know that our board of education will make a decision in early 2023 about whether to put this closely decided matter back before the voters in May.”