The Langdon School Board met Tuesday, January 12 at 7:00 p.m. to canvass the voting materials concerning the building mill levy vote held on January 6 to elevate the building levy from 3-mills up to 10-mills. Inspection of documents and explanation of ballots via mail-in and drop-off ballots was discussed.
Kari Philips took the place of Kevin Graber as an election official as Mr. Graber was unable to be present on January 6. With experience and knowing the election process from working with several county elections, she was a good fit for the job.
Shauna Schneider, business manager, explained the process of why some people received ballots directly and others received an application to get a ballot. This is often misunderstood and confusing for voters. Schneider did say that at the next school election, regardless of when or what it is for, the voting process will go back to normal with in-person voting or absentee voting being the choice of the voter as the pandemic issues will hopefully not be such a concern.
Schneider also explained the process taken to ensure the ballots were legitimate and counted legally. Once the ballots come in, they are alphabetized, date stamped, and attached to the application to keep them organized and properly counted. If an application is not signed correctly or not signed at all, they were sent back to be signed so they could be counted as a legal vote. Four more ballots were received with no signatures and no return addresses so could not be counted legally or returned to the voter to be signed.
Tyler Feist was asked to open up the three mail-in ballots for the levy vote that had not yet been counted. Three additional yes votes were received for the levy to pass from 3-mills up to 10-mills and were added to the 276 previously counted.
Dave Hart recited what was the results of the final vote: January 6, 2021, was a legally and properly held election with 279 votes yes and 378 votes no; the building mill levy vote was lost over a majority vote by 115 votes. To pass 394 votes were needed or 60% of the total votes.
A motion for adoption of this resolution was moved and seconded. A roll call vote was taken with all six present members of the board approving the motion. One member was absent. The meeting adjourned.
The Langdon Area School Board’s regular meeting was held at 5:00 p.m. on January 12. The meeting opened with approval of two previous meetings’ minutes, a regular meeting and the town hall meeting. Financials were discussed. A question on the labeling of some expeditures in the newspaper was brought up. Shauna Schneider, business manager, explained that the list in the paper is generated in a report format that can’t be changed and is abbreviated. Financials were approved.
Superintendent Daren Christianson reported that in the next week, the governor will be updating COVID restrictions and mandates including the wearing of masks. If the mask requirement is changed, the school will go back to what is in their Return to Learning plan, which is masks are to be worn when moving around the school but can be taken off at your desk as long as the 6 foot social distancing is in place. All school personnel and students have been following the mandate but will be happy to go back to the way it was last fall.
There was discussion concerning the vote on January 6. Since the vote didn’t pass, the question was - what is next? Even though the vote didn't pass, there is still the problem of the elementary heating system to deal with. Discussion centered around various proposals or ideas concerning having another vote and when/if and what that vote would look like. The board will look at where the school can further cut more spending in their general fund to get the number of mills down that would be needed to pay for the elementary heating project if and when another vote occurs. The budget and finance, curriculum, and activities committees will all have to meet and see what can be done.
Other business covered involved the securities of pledges, policy updates, and the upcoming negotiations seminar for interested board members. The next meeting will be February 18, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. at the high school.