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Turnout heavy for referendum on James Buchanan High School renovations

September 09, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

MERCERSBURG, Pa. -- Poll workers across the Tuscarora School District reported high turnout this morning and early afternoon as voters sought to decide whether the school board can borrow $35 million to renovate and expand James Buchanan High School.

Polls close at 8 p.m. in the district's 13 precincts.

St. Thomas-2, the largest precinct in the district, had a line to sign in at 1 p.m. Polls inspector Roger Beckner reported that 330 people had voted out of the 2,373 registered.

"We've been running close to one (person) a minute," he said.

Only one question was presented on the special election ballot, which asked voters to decide "yes" or "no" whether the debt should be incurred.

Smaller Peters-4, which has 363 registered voters, had 74 people cast ballots by 2 p.m. Volunteers remarked about the good turnout at the Upton Community Center polls for Peters-4.

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Peters-3 in Lemasters, Pa., had 167 of the 586 registered voters out by 2:15 p.m.

"We have an exceptionally good turnout. This is one of the highest turnouts we've had in years," said Don Blattenberger, judge of elections for Peters-3.

Voters questioned on their departure from the polls seemed split evenly on the issue.

"I think they're ridiculously asking for too much money. What have they done with all the other money over the past 10 years?" asked Leonard Painter, of St. Thomas.

"We need it. I did some research and saw the costs were about in line with what other states and schools are paying," said Scott Sanders, also of St. Thomas.

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.

Slightly fewer than 10,500 people are registered to vote in the school district.

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