By Andy Hallman, Golden Triangle News Service
Voters in the Van Buren and Harmony school districts went to the polls Tuesday and decided to unite the two districts into one.
A majority of voters in each district needed to support the merger in order for it to pass, and it passed easily in both districts. Support for merging was overwhelming in the Van Buren district especially, where it was approved 597-34 (95 percent in favor). The vote was much closer in Harmony?s district but still decidedly in favor of yes, 448-171 (72 percent).
Turnout for the vote was about twice as high in Harmony?s district compared to Van Buren?s, though there was a huge gap in the level of support from the Bonaparte precinct to the one in Farmington. Voters in the Bonaparte precinct supported the merger 227-23 (91 percent), comparable to most precincts in Van Buren?s district. The issue was more hotly contested in Farmington, where 165 voters favored merging while 114 did not (59 percent in support).
Thirty-nine percent of registered voters in Farmington?s precinct participated, the highest of any precinct. Bonaparte was next with 29 percent of its voters going to the polls. All of the precincts in Van Buren?s school district had a participation rate of less than 20 percent.
The new district will be called ?Van Buren County Community school,? and will come into existence July 1, 2019. The reorganized school board would have seven members on it, with five from director districts and two at large.
Voters in the two districts also approved a revenue purpose statement for the existing 1 cent school infrastructure tax for the new district. That vote passed 570-56 in Van Buren?s school district and 427-183 in Harmony?s.
Vote breakdowns on merging the districts are as follows:
Van Buren County School District
Birmingham: 90 in favor, 10 against. Of the 708 registered voters in the county, 100 voted.
Cantril: 42 yes, one no, with 43 of 315 registered voters participating.
Douds: 45 yes, four no, with 50 of 408 registered voters participating.
Keosauqua: 231 yes, eight no, with 241 of 1,288 registered voters participating.
Milton: 43 yes, three no, with 46 of 408 registered voters participating.
Stockport: 49 yes, two no, with 53 of 315 registered voters participating.
Absentee: 97 yes, six no.
Harmony School District
Harmony?s district stretches into Henry and Lee counties, and those voters went to either Bonaparte or Farmington to vote.
Bonaparte: 227 yes, 23 no, with 251 of 855 registered voters participating.
Farmington: 165 yes, 114 no, with 279 of 718 registered voters participating.
Absentee: 56 yes, 34 no.
Van Buren County has 5,015 registered voters, and 25 percent of them (1,256) went to the polls Tuesday.