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Columbia Missourian

Harrisburg School District failed tax levy may face recount

By Kelsey McQuade
November 5, 2010 | 3:03 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Harrisburg R-VIII Board of Education will meet Monday night to discuss a push for a recount in a failed 30-cent increase to the tax levy.

Proposition 1 would have generated an estimated $98,000 a year, which would have been used to help prevent staff reductions and sustain current programs during times of economic trouble.

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"We want to make sure we can maintain safe reserves for this financial storm we're in, and will be in for the next five years," Harrisburg Superintendent Lynn Proctor said.

Homeowners in the school district would have paid about $57 more per year in taxes on a $100,000 home.

The Harrisburg district is on the line of Boone and Howard counties.

Boone County voters approved the levy, 576-559, and Howard County residents voted against it, 58-30. The total was 617-606 — a gap of 11 votes.

“We are almost sure there will be a recount,” Proctor said.

A recount request can be made when the margin is less than 1 percent, and it must wait until the votes are finalized in about two weeks.

The school district has three schools with about 580 students. Because of a budget deficit, there is little left to cut that would not affect student programs, Proctor said.

Over the past five years, the district has utilized some of its reserves, though within the past two, the district has been making efforts to curtail it.

“We have been making pretty significant cuts so we can eventually cut the deficit spending,” Proctor said.

A campaign committee worked to promote the proposition with fliers, signs and phone calls.