NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio — With all precincts reporting on Election Night this past May 2, the results from Lorain County showed a proposed North Ridgeville City School District bond issue failing at the ballot box.
The proposal, it appeared, was dead on arrival. However, following Thursday's certification of the results by the county board of elections, we can now say this race is "too close to call."
With absentee and provisional ballots now added to the final tally, the bond issue is still failing, but the gap has closed from 37 votes to a mere 23 votes, or 50.2%-49.8%. According to Ohio law, any local election with a final margin within 0.5% must go to an automatic recount, and that's exactly what will happen in the coming days.
On the ballot as Issue 5, the measure would raise $190,025,000 in funds for constructing, adding to, renovating, remodeling, furnishing, improving and equipping district buildings. It would be paid off over a period of 37 years, but if it doesn't pass, school officials say budget cuts should be expected.
"We have some tough decisions to make," North Ridgeville Superintendent Rozann Ramsey-Caserio said in a statement Thursday, sounding less than optimistic that the final result would be reversed. "We know more modular units will need to be purchased in order to educate our students. This also affects our curriculum, kindergarten program, bussing, and more. All of which directly affects the level of education we can provide our students. Unfortunately, we’ll have to see where this leads the district."
In particular, the district says the ballot measure came about due to a desire to update security systems at school buildings. Some of these upgrades will still be made over the summer using separate grant money.
State procedures indicate officials from the Lorain County Board of Elections must select a handful of North Ridgeville's 24 precincts to receive a hand recount, with the rest being rescanned electronically. If the hand recounts don't match the initial results from those precincts, then all precincts will receive a hand recount (in this case totaling more than 7,000 votes).
The recount is expected to be completed by Tuesday at 4 p.m.