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Group seeking recount of levy results
Times Snohomish County Bureau
A group of Marysville residents critical of the school district has asked for a recount of the Feb. 7 election results in which a $72 million operations levy passed by just 24 votes.
Former School Board member Ron Young and five others submitted a petition to the Snohomish County Auditor's Office just before the 4:30 p.m. deadline yesterday and paid a $2,000 deposit for a recount of 41 Marysville precincts. The recount will begin Wednesday morning.
In a move reminiscent of last year's governor's race, the group, Levies are for Students, targeted precincts in which election workers duplicated damaged or incomplete ballots. The auditor's office says 284 ballots were duplicated out of 7,768 ballots cast in those precincts.
Young paid for yard signs during the election campaign urging voters to reject the four-year operations levy. He argued that the district has some of the state's highest-paid teachers but some of the lowest test scores, and needed to rethink its budget priorities.
"I've tried complaining. I've tried being on the School Board. This may not necessarily be the best thing to do, but it's better than doing nothing," Young said after filing the petition.
The move produced weary sighs among school supporters in a district that has struggled to pass its levies and bonds.
"It's sad news," said Corinne Diteman, who worked on the citizens campaign in support of the school measures. "We're having to wait again just when we were starting to feel positive and move forward."
The district suffered a state record 49-day teachers strike in 2003. After the strike, a new School Board majority was elected and the former superintendent's contract bought out. But residual bitterness over the strike has lingered.
Bond measures to build a new high school and relieve overcrowding at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, the state's second-largest, were rejected three times after the strike. An $118 million construction bond on the same ballot as the contested levy passed by just 8 votes more than the required 60 percent supermajority. That vote is not being challenged.
The group opposing the levy supported the bond measure, arguing that new schools were needed in the district and would only become more expensive with delays.
If the results are overturned, the county will refund Young's money. Otherwise, he will be charged 25 cents for each ballot recounted by hand.
Lynn Thompson: 425-745-7807 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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