Newton County voters came out in low numbers on Tuesday to vote on various items on the April ballot.
Out of 35,066 registered voters in the county, only 2,749 turned out.
“We had 7.84 percent,” Newton County Clerk Kay Baum said. “That is probably a record low for Newton County. I think that we have had 8 percent before.”
Neosho R-5 School Board
Neosho R-5 School District voters elected one incumbent and a new member during Tuesday’s election. With a total of 539 votes, Mike Stauffer, incumbent, won his second term, with Jonathan Russell receiving 410 votes.
“I am happy, I appreciate everybody’s support,” said Stauffer after the announcement. “I look forward to serving. We have a lot of issues that are on our plate and short- and long-term solutions for those issues. I look forward to hopefully finding a solution for the problems that we have there at the school.”
As far as a goal on his mind for the schools, Stauffer said, “a solution for overcrowdness in all of our schools.”
This is Russell’s first time of running for a public office.
“I am excited, it has been a stressful evening, but hard work paid off,” said Russell.
Asked what his No. 1 goal is now being a school board member, Russell said, “one of the things that I am very passionate about is a partnership with Crowder College, so that our high school students have many options as far as what to do in high school so they can graduate and be career ready. It is a tough world out there in this economy and I know that it would be fantastic if some of these kids graduated with an associate’s degree and be ready to go right into finishing their bachelor’s in two years. Some students might want to get their technical certificates or what not, and I want them to have every option available to them, and get them prepared to go out into the workforce.”
East Newton R-6 question
The voters of the East Newton R-6 School District turned down a levy during the Tuesday election. The vote was 468 votes against to 306 in favor.
“We were going to ask for a operating ceiling increase, which basically over the course of two years it would have phased in to make the ceiling $3.25,” East Newton R-6 School District superintendent Todd McCrackin said. “It wasn’t necessarily going to add 25 cents to the levy, and make that the tax, it was just raising the ceiling. The operating levy could have been $2.75 next year or $2.78 or $2.80, all the district is wanting to do is just to raise the ceiling just in case of times in the future where we needed extra revenue we would have that ability.”
Page 2 of 2 - The levy right now for East Newton School District is at $2.75, the lowest and the highest as it can get without the voter approval, the superintendent noted.
“We are disappointed that we didn’t get enough votes to pass the proposition, but the board and I realized when patrons hear the possibility of a tax increase, automatically people are going to say ‘no,’” McCrackin said. “The thing that we wanted to try to do at several meetings was to educate the community on some factual and transparent data of just why the district is asking for this.”
The district did set up three public meetings prior to the election to present their information.
Asked what is next on this issue, McCrackin said, “the board will investigate this in greater detail and it is a possibility that it will be asking patrons the same thing again.”