Archive for Thursday, November 1, 2007

Recount mutes district’s celebration

November 1, 2007

Basehor-Linwood school district officials' excitement in response to the voter-approved $39.9 million bond issue has been put on hold after a resident requested a recount Tuesday morning.

The bond issue passed narrowly by 13 votes after the initial count Thursday, but was not declared official until the Board of Canvassers met Monday. Forty of the 47 provisional ballots were accepted, which put the certified tally at 2,209 votes for the bond issue and 2,180 votes opposed.

"We were quite elated," district Superintendent Bob Albers said. "We were relieved that we had actually increased the number of votes from 13 to 29 when the provisional votes were counted."

However, Albers said talk of a recount stirred Monday at the courthouse, so district officials knew it was a possibility. The possibility became a reality Tuesday when Bonner Springs resident David Jons paid the $500 fee for a hand recount.

Leavenworth County Clerk Linda Scheer said any registered voter in the district who cast a ballot in the election was permitted to request a recount in writing by 5 p.m. Tuesday. Scheer said the requester had to indicate the method of recount -- either by optical scan machine or by hand -- and they had to pay a fee upfront, depending on the method of recount chosen.

The recount will be conducted at 8:30 a.m. today, Nov. 1, Scheer said. Two election boards will be brought together to count the more than 4,000 ballots.

If the recount doesn't change the outcome, the vote will allow the district to construct a new third- through fifth-grade elementary school costing $11.45 million; a new $24.8 million sixth- through eighth-grade middle school; six additional classrooms and renovations at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School at $2.5 million; $750,000 in renovations at Linwood Elementary; and a new soccer field costing $400,000.

Based on her experiences, Scheer said, a recount is rare.

"It's been a long time since I've done any recounts in this office," she said.

Despite several phone calls, Jons could not be reached for comment, but in a recent letter to the editor of the Sentinel he expressed his concern for the true cost of the bond.

He wrote that if the bond issue were to pass, the Basehor-Linwood school district would be about $86 million in debt. He also mentioned that he believed the proposed location of the new middle school was not ideal.

"Basehor-Linwood's proposed new middle school is directly beside a working dairy farm," he wrote. "There will be an inevitable odor problem that has been completely ignored by the school board."

Albers said a recount is just part of the democratic election process and district officials were remaining optimistic.

"We're not down about it," he said. "We're concerned, we're cautious about it, but we feel pretty confident it will stand up. We're just excited about the future of the district and we're anxious to get started."

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