The wait is over.
Final vote results show the Hall High School referendum stands.
A close vote margin for the $32 million new Hall High School referendum left many wondering if absentee ballots would overturn the decision. A few nervous supporters, including Hildi Grivetti, a Hall parent and co-chairman of Citizens for a New Hall High School, and Mike Struna, Hall High superintendent, waited outside the Bureau County Clerk’s Office on Tuesday afternoon as the votes were counted.
Around 3 p.m., the group was called into the office to see the results. Bureau County clerk Kami Hieronymus said four absentee votes were returned which qualified to be counted and two were from the Hall school districts.
The two absentee Hall ballots added one “yes” vote and one “no” vote to the total, leaving April 9’s three-vote majority unchanged. The final total is 1,717-1,714 in favor of building a new school.
“I’m very happy,” said Grivetti. “We can finally move forward.”
The group celebrated the original results at the Spring Valley Boat Club on April 9, but it was soon suspended. The results could not be finalized until absentee votes were counted by the county clerk’s office. The 21 possible ballots needed to be posted marked before April 9 to be counted.
Now, supporters of the referendum and school administration can continue their celebrations
“Obviously, we’re happy we won,” said Struna. “We are concerned there were almost just as many no voters as there were yes voters.”
From the beginning, the referendum concerned some residents in the Hall districts because of tax increases and other factors. A homeowner with a home at a fair market value of $100,000 can expect to pay $283 more in taxes a year. However, if the referendum failed, the school would still have needed to spend $18 million in updates to an ageing school which would have increased taxes for a homeowner with the same valued home by $202 a year.
The issues brought out more than 3,400 people, almost 54 percent of registered voters, to cast their opinion on the subject. Struna and other member of Hall’s board of education recognized this as a great feat and thanked all that helped get “yes” votes for the referendum at last week’s board meeting.
“Now our job is to build a new Hall Township High School for everybody involved,” Struna said.