Volusia County recounts votes on school tax

'No' votes leading by about 1,000

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Election officials in Volusia County are recounting the votes on a proposed school tax, which will cost the county and taxpayers nearly $30,000.

"$25,000 in wages because everyone in elections is in overtime and another $5,000 in supplies," said Ann McFall, Supervisor of Elections.

School officials are already moving forward to find ways to fill the $25 million budget hole the ballot's defeat would leave.

The results of the proposed tax hike to raise schools was too close to call officially, so the canvassing board decided to conduct a recount.

The Volusia County Supervisor of Elections told Local 6 that 25 employees are working overtime on the recount, which is paid for out of the county general fund.  The biggest cost is the man-hours it will take over the next two to three days.

The Volusia County Supervisor of Elections office will sort through more than 200,000 ballots looking for how voters responded.

The unofficial results show slightly more people voted "no" to increasing taxes to help schools, with 50.22 percent of votes. The "yes" votes received 49.78 percent.

The results are separated by less than half of a percent, which is about 1,000 votes.

Election officials said of the nearly 236,000 ballots cast election day, 27,000 people did not vote on the school tax hike question.

Supporters of the property tax hike for schools have been pulling out all the stops to get it passed.

District leaders say Volusia County schools face a $25 million budget shortfall for the 2013-2014 school year.  That could translate into cuts to music and arts teachers and advanced placement courses.  It also might mean having larger class sizes and students sharing textbooks.

Parents have mobilized with an online petition to raise support for schools.  But that petition can't sway results of votes already cast.

A school board meeting scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

District officials don't expect the results to change, so the meeting will focus on making budget cuts and talking about if they'll pursue the tax hike question on the next general election ballot in 2014.

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