"I'm going to leave before I cry."
That's what Sandusky Board of Education President Faith Denslow said after learning the district's levy failed Tuesday night. The grim news was delivered at the Erie County Board of Elections.
"I'm disappointed for our students," Denslow said.
Only 2,378 voters turned out to vote on the levy, which failed by a vote of 1,109-1,269, just more than 53 percent against. Nearly 17 percent of registered voters in Erie County turned out Tuesday.
Superintendent Bill Pahl said he was surprised by the low voter turnout.
"We're just concerned that we lost by 160 votes," Pahl said. "We're a little shocked. We knew it might be close, but thought we had the votes out there."
He added the district will most likely have the levy on the ballot again in November and not passing the levy would greatly affect the district.
"Our school district would not be recognizable with the cuts we'd have to make. We'll be back, we have to come back," he said.
Treasurer Troy Bouts said the district isn't planning on putting the levy on the August ballot due to traditionally low voter turnout, but will campaign strongly for the November ballot.
"The future of our schools depends on this passing," Bouts said. "We're absolutely going to be back in November."
At this point, no cuts have been discussed.
"We've closed two buildings already. We've laid off 60 staff members. It's really hard to see what more cuts we can make," Bouts said.
Sandusky was seeking a 5.4-mill operating levy that would have generated $2.7 million annually for the district. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $165 per year, or 45 cents per day.