Valmeyer school district measure fails by 1 vote

Every vote counts, especially in Valmeyer. 

An April 6 referendum regarding a residency requirement to serve on the Valmeyer School Board failed by one vote. 

That measure, which would have allowed for any citizen who resides in the school district to serve regardless of where they live instead of restricting membership on the board to no more than three members per congressional township, appeared poised to pass on election night. 

After all mail-in votes and absentee ballots were counted Tuesday, there were 159 votes in favor and 80 votes against, meaning 66.5 percent of voters OK’d it. 

That means the measure fell one vote short of a two-thirds majority needed to pass. 

It also did not pass by getting the majority of votes cast in each township  because the only two people who voted in Precinct 21 ­– located in the northernmost area of the school district near the Mississippi River in the area of B Road – voted against the referendum. 

β€œIf just a few more people had participated in these small races, they could have changed the outcome,” Monroe County Clerk Jonathan McLean said. β€œAnd the small races often have more impact on our lives than the state or national ones.” 

The district tried to pass the referendum because it often has trouble finding enough candidates from the two congressional townships in Valmeyer to serve on its board of education. 

Superintendent Eric Frankford did not have much to say when asked for comment on the measure failing to reform. 

β€œThe board has not received the certified election results and thus has not discussed the final outcome nor discussed or planned any future action,” he said. β€œAny reaction now would be premature until the board meets to discuss.” 

The residency issue came up again this year, with multiple candidates wanting to run but not being able to without running against each other. 

Similarly, only one of two candidates whose names were actually on the April 6 ballot could serve because of the residency requirement, with Stefanie Johnson-Tyberendt beating Justin Rohlfing by 10 votes. 

Since the measure did not pass, write-in candidates may still be needed to fill some open seats. 

That was the case this year. 

John Niebruegge and Kyle Andres both received the minimum number of votes needed, so as long as they file their paperwork in the next 10 days, they will serve on the board. 

Also, in Hecker, Gary Wittenauer got the write-in votes needed to continue serving as a village trustee. He had simply missed the filing deadline to get on the ballot. 

No other races had their outcomes changed by the final vote tallies in Monroe County. 

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James Moss

James is an alumni of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he graduated summa cum laude with degrees in mass communications and applied communications studies. While in school, he interned at two newspapers and worked at a local grocery store to pay for his education. When not working for the Republic-Times, he enjoys watching movies, reading, playing video games and spending time with his friends.
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