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Blue Earth Area voters reject tax hike

BLUE EARTH — Blue Earth Area Schools voters narrowly defeated an excess levy referendum on Tuesday.

The measure was voted down, 756-721, a difference of 35 votes.

Had the measure passed, it would have brought in an additional $900 per pupil to the district. This would have given Blue Earth Area another $900,000 annually in revenue.

Prior to the vote, district officials estimated that if the proposal did not pass, Blue Earth Area would have to make more than $1 million in budget cuts from a $16 million budget.

Officials had said that passing the excess levy would allow the district to maintain its programs, including band, choir, orchestra and College Now classes, among other things.

There were five different polling places around the county. Two — Blue Earth and Frost — voted in favor of the referendum. Three — Winnebago, Delavan and Elmore — voted against it.

Those voting in Blue Earth supported the measure, 449-309. Frost voted in favor, 73-53.

More than 72 percent of the people voting in Winnebago and almost 63 percent of the people in Delavan voted against the referendum. In Winnebago, the vote was 200-76 against. The vote in Delavan was 124-73 against.

In Elmore, the vote was 70-50 against.

Meanwhile, in a race for the school board, Jeff Eckles, who ran unopposed, was elected to fill out the term of Jeremy Coxworth with more than 95 percent of the vote.

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