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Special ed millage request is defeated

A request to restore nearly three-tenths of a mill to the maximum rate of 2.75 mills for special-education services fell Tuesday, 1,150 to 1,018.

Restoration of the mills would have generated an additional $620,000 annually for St. Joseph County’s nine school districts.

The 132-vote difference was slightly less than the combined difference between yes and no votes in Cass County’s Mason, Newberg and Porter townships; and Branch County’s Matteson and Sherwood townships.

Sally Boeschenstein, president of the St. Joseph County Intermediate School District Board of Education, said she was proud of St. Joseph County voters for seeing the need to help students who need it the most. But, she said, she was disappointed with the overall outcome.

Portions of Colon, Three Rivers, Constantine and White Pigeon school districts extend beyond St. Joseph County.

With the Headlee Rollback in place, the county’s school districts are receiving only 2.4554 mills for special-education services. Tuesday’s request asked voters to restore the 0.2946 the difference to return the rate to the 2.75 mark.

According to unofficial results, 4.5 percent of the county’s 48,635 voters took part in the ISD request.