SPRING VALLEY – The numbers aren't final, but supporters of the Hall High School referendum are cautiously optimistic the $32 million referendum was approved by voters Tuesday.
By the end of the evening, the vote tally showed a slim three-point lead in favor, with 1,716 votes supporting the referendum, and 1,713 against.
The final fate of the project, which would allow the district to issue $32 million in school building bonds to equip a new high school building, improve the site and demolish all or a portion of the existing school building, won't be known for another two weeks.
Supporter and school board member Mike Morris said there were 21 outstanding absentee ballots that had not been returned by Election Day. If those ballots are returned within the next two weeks and postmarked before April 9, they will be added into the final total.
It was a long evening for the supporters, who met at the Spring Valley Boat Club.
Election returns began to flow in shortly before 8 p.m., and by 9 p.m., all but one of the 16 precincts voting on the referendum had been heard from — and the referendum was down by about 20 votes.
Then the real waiting began as supporters waited to hear what the 277 registered voters in Selby 1 – Hollowayville and Seatonville area – had done.
Finally, at 9:56 p.m., those results were in. Voters in Selby 1 approved the referendum by a 55-34 vote, giving the referendum its slight three-point lead.
Hildi Grivetti, chairman of the Citizens for a New Hall High School group, said she was happy with the results.
"We're thrilled," she said. "This is the start."
But Grivetti was also aware of how close the race was.
"We had a lot of positive response today, but I think the numbers show it isn't all positive," she said. "A lot of people wanted it not to come in."
Grivetti said she was sorry voters were so split.
"We want to make this a community project, so we're going to look for community involvement – no voters, yes voters, professional people coming together," she said. "Hopefully we can all work together and get this school to be a good thing for the community."
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