Mercer County School bus

BDT file photo

PRINCETON — After early votes, absentee votes and votes cast during a special election were counted, the new Mercer County Schools five-year excess levy was approved, according to unofficial vote totals released Saturday evening.

The special election was held to let the county’s voters decide whether to approve a new five-year excess levy for the Mercer County Schools system. After 10 days of early voting, 2,536 votes were counted, according to County Clerk Verlin Moye. 

Paper ballots were used instead of electronic voting machines because the special election had only one question about whether to approve or disapprove a new excess levy. The current five-year excess levy expires on June 30, 2020.

Polls opened at 6:30 a.m. After the polls closed at 7:30 p.m., each precinct counted its votes and brought them to the Mercer County Courthouse for the final count, Moye said.

When all 47 precincts had reported their unofficial results, there were 3,161 votes for the excess levy and 1,648 against it. 

Moye stated the election itself, in a procedural way, went well, but not that many people appeared at the polls Saturday.

“The turnout, I’m going to use the term mediocre,” he said. 

The school system’s overall budget is about $130 million, and the almost $13 million the levy represents is 10 percent of it.

Services depending on excess levy funding includes support personnel, coaches’ supplements, textbooks, extracurricular activities, maintenance and upkeep of schools and operational costs, Superintendent Dr. Deborah Akers said previously. 

“We’re very thankful that we’ll have the funding for another five years,” Akers said after the vote was completed.

The votes will be canvassed on Nov. 8 starting 9 a.m. in the Voters Registration Office at the Mercer County Courthouse, Moye said.

The Mercer County Board of Education sets the excess levy rate every five years. How the school system spends the levy money is outlined on the ballot, Moye said.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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