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City School Tax Victories Called Surprise

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In a vote which surpnsed many observers, two millage issues and one bonding proposition offered by the Ann Arbor School District and Washtenaw Intermedíate School District were approved yesterday by city and county voters. Nearly 25,000 voters - about 18,000 of them from the Ann Arbor School District - turned out to approve the tax propositions. City voters also elected Henry Johnson, Dr. Ronald C. Bishop and Cecil Warner to three-year terms on the Ann Arbor Board of Education. The turn o ut represented approximately 40 per cent of the registered voters in the district. Unofficial tallies showed that the 6.67-mill proposal f or school operations in the Ann Arbor School District squeaked I through by a 317-vote margin, 9,152 "yes" votes to 8,835 "no" r votes. An unofficial canvas showed that the millage proposal, an issue which has split the Ann Arbor school board candidates nearly down the middle, won in 16 precincts, lost in 18 and tied in one precinct (Precinct 14, Pattengill School). The $4,950,000 million bonding issue for construction of the city's fifth junior high school at Nixon and Bluett Rds. passed by a more comfortable margin of nearly 3,000 votes. Unofficial returns showed, 9,146 "yes" votes and 6,223 "no" votes. It won in 25 precincts, lost in 10. A precinct-by-precinct tally of the millage and bonding issues, plus a story of the Board of Education race, appear on Page 11. This was the third time in 18 months that city voters has been asked to approve funds for the fifth junior high. In ary of 1968, and again last December, the issue was rejected. A request by the Washtenaw Intermedíate School District for a half-mill increase in the tax levy for special educations programs won by the unofficial large edge of 6,397 votes- 15,671 in favor, 9,274 against. It was the first time the Intermedíate School District had asked for a hike in the special education millage since 1959. Yesterday's election will mean this tax levy will now be increased from one-half mili to one mili. In Ann Arbor, the special education levy passed in all of the 35 precincts, except Precinct 33, Stone School. The unofficial vote total in Ann Arbor for the proposal was 12,022 in favor, 5,951 against. In the nine out-county districts, the special education millage passed in six. It failed only in Manchester (bythrèH votes), Saline and Lincoln. Balloting among the nearly 7,000 out-county voters was close, however, and Ann Arbor voters provided the margin of victory. Nick A. Ianni, superintendent of the Intermedíate School District, told The News today he is "happy" about the "vote of confidence" given the special education programs by the voters. He said the support of the issue in the out-county districts was "most gratifying," especially in view of the fact that yesterday many of the millage and bonding issues failed there and he thanked the voters "on behalf of the handicapped youngsters who receive special education services." Returns on the millage issue in the Ann Arbor School District were close all evening, as about 125 persons jammed the School Administrative Offices at 1220 Wells to hear the election results. Many observers didn't think the 6.67-mill proposal had a chance of passing, and the proposal had split both the school board candidates and the Board of Education. Five of the nine candidates for the Ann Arbor school board said they opposed the 6.67-mill increase, while Trustees William C. Godfrey, Paul H. Johnson and Richard M. Wood also voted against the amount. School Supt. W. Scott Westerman Jr., who had been advised by many not to submit such a large millage amount to the public, said last night the mil-' lage victory "means that the educational experience for our youth next year will be a better one, and for that I'm very grateful." Westerman also commented that the many organizations and individuals who campaigned for the lage and bonding issues "made a great difference in the outcorae." School Board President Joseph R. Jülin said the "close vote (on the millage) suggests the difficulty all of us have in facing the inevitability of rising costs and in voting to increase our own taxes. Yet Ann Arbor has shown it continúes to place education high on its lists of priorities. This is as it should be." Julin also praised Westerman as "one person who made the difference" in the outcome of the election. The millage victory marked the second time in less than a year that Ann , Arbor voters approved increased taxes for school operations. One year ago today, 16,000 voters approved an 11.66-mill package for operations by a 2,052-vote margin. That victory came on the heels of two previous millage defeats in 1967. The success of the 6.67-mill package and the $4.9 million bonding issues means taxes will be hiked in 1969-70 by $3.39 per $1,000 of state equalized valuation for Ann Arbor School District voters, or $37.29 per yearj on a home assessed at $11,000. ■ This means a total of 35.971 milis for operations and debtl service will be levied on Annl Arbor School District voters next year. In 1968-69, this total was 32.58 milis. The 6.67 milis included a 3.37mill renewal 3.3 additional milis. The victory of the y2-mill proposal for special education means that a total of one mili will be levied for this purpose on Intermedíate School District voters (which includes the Ann Arbor School District), or $1 per $1,000 of state equalized valuation.


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