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Election Victories Stifled by Failure of Referendum

The three newly elected Richfield School Board members are puzzled and disappointed.

While newly elected members , and incumbent are ecstatic to be part of the board, all are also upset .

"My victory is kind of bittersweet because of it," Ashmead told Richfield Patch. "I don’t think people are disgruntled with the schools. I think they just don’t have the money."

While Nollenberger agreed the economy may have been a factor, he was surprised the measure didn't pass. The district conducted two surveys, one in fall 2010 and the other this past spring, to gain insight on whether voters would support a levy. Nollenberger cited results showing roughly 65-percent support, including strong support among seniors.

"To be perfectly honest, the result [on election night] did not match—even close—to the survey results we received," Nollenberger told Patch.

In addition, Nollenberger said Richfield fit with other metro area districts where voters rejected levies.

"Strict renewals were pretty successful, whereas the ones that asked for additional dollars failed throughout the metro area," he said. "[This would also] indicate that the economy played a role."

Nollenberger also thought it strange these same voters elected three pro-referendum supporters to the board, defeating two candidates who openly opposed it.

"That seems like a bit of a disconnect to me," he said.

Echoing the disappointment, Etienne said she plans to investigate the matter further by talking with community members.

told Fox 9 News that he understands that the economy has hit families hard and believes this is why the measure didn't pass. Still, the referendum's defeat is certain to have economic consequences: The extra dollars generated from it would have prevented further layoffs.

"Since we've reduced administrators, custodians, paraprofessionals, secretaries, this year we finally got into taking away teachers," Slotterback said in the Fox 9 interview. "And we'll be in that same type of mentality for this next year."

The current Richfield levy runs through the 2012-13 school year. The need for a new referendum will likely be addressed again on the 2012 election ballot.

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