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Tuscarora School District residents to vote on $35 million high school project

September 09, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

MERCERSBURG, Pa. -- Tuesday's special election in the Tuscarora School District will determine whether the school board is given the authority to spend $35 million to renovate and expand James Buchanan High School.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m., giving the 10,443 registered voters an opportunity to select "yes" or "no" concerning the district's borrowing.

Thirteen voting precincts will be open in Mercersburg borough and Montgomery, Peters, St. Thomas and Warren townships.

Just one polling place has changed from May's primary election, according to Jean Byers, deputy chief clerk of Franklin County.

"The only one that has changed is St. Thomas-3. They usually vote at Williamson Community Center, but for this election it's going to be at St. Luke's Lutheran Church," she said.

The county Voter Registration Office reported a minimal increase in the number of registered voters in the school district. The registrar's system showed 6,178 Republicans and 3,014 Democrats eligible to vote in the special election.

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"A 'yes' vote will give us a community-driven solution to the long-term problems, which have developed over many decades at James Buchanan High School," Superintendent Rebecca E. Erb said.

A "no" vote might mean spending more money in the long run as issues are addressed individually, she said.

"A 'no' vote will mean we will be piecemeal fixing things," Erb said.

She used boys' bathroom stall doors as an example. She mandated in 2007-08 that each bathroom have at least one stall with a door, but many stalls remain without that privacy barrier at the high school.

"Every day, you'd find a problem like that," Erb said.

Included in the school board's proposal is replacing mechanical systems, adding nine classrooms and two large group areas, replacing the roof, and repairing or replacing several athletic facilities like the track, pool and tennis courts.

Byers said that voters will be asked to fill in the oval beside the word "yes" or the one beside "no" to cast their votes. The election board has been scheduled to meet Friday to certify the results.

"We'll take a percentage of the ballots cast on election day and handcount them to make sure the machines counted them correctly," she said.

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