The push to consolidate three school districts into one failed by only seven votes Tuesday night in Madison County, but it is not yet known if a recount will take place.
The measure would have consolidated East Alton School District 13, East Alton-Wood River Community High School District 14 and Wood River-Hartford School District 15 into one unit district. The combine tax rate would have been $3.50 per $100 of equalized assessed value, which school officials said would be less than half the total school property taxes some residents are paying to multiple districts.
Proponents argued that a unit district would also allow for better curriculum alignment, consistent policies and a more efficient and effective district; opponents said they had reservations about turning smaller districts into one large district, for fear younger students would be lost in the shuffle.
The proposal, which had failed at the polls once before, was turned down 938 to 931, a difference of only seven votes.
The “committee of 10” that proposed the measure would have to be the one to decide whether to call for a recount, according to Assistant Regional Superintendent Andrew Reinking. He said the regional office only reviews paperwork and documents that must be filed with the state for a school district consolidation, but remains neutral.
“We are the gatekeeper,” he said. “This is a decision by the voters in those communities.”
Representatives from the committee could not be immediately reached for comment. Results of the election are not considered official until the canvass is completed on April 18.