Unofficial results Tuesday afternoon indicated that voters approved an increase in the local option budget for USD 398.
Marion County Clerk Tina Spencer said 360 voters turned in ballots favorable to an increase and 137 were opposed.
USD 398 Superintendent Ron Traxson was enthusiastic about the nearly two to one edge in favor of the LOB increase.
“Of course we are really excited,” Traxson said. “And not just about the financial maneuvering room the increase will provide, but we are excited about the great example of community support.”
Traxson said that having only spent three years in the Peabody-Burns district, he did not truly know what to expect.
“I didn’t have enough to ‘read’ patron support,” he said. “Mostly I guess it was a feeling of optimistic uncertainty.”
Traxson also felt that all the bad news out of Topeka probably helped local voters decide.
“The voters’ level of mistrust for Topeka translated into a level of trust for the local board,” he said. “The public understands there is a need and while the officials in Topeka do not seem to be in support of education, I think they believe the local board will do the right things.”
Traxson also noted that the board can vote to move the local option budget in either direction. He said the flexibility of the funding will help keep programs and staff at a level that best suits the educational needs of the students. The board also will be able to better anticipate its spending on building needs and infrastructure.
“We appreciate the voters confidence,” he said. “Really, I have a deeper appreciation for our patrons’ commitment to our schools and to our children.”