Andover local option budget vote tied

The Andover school district’s local option budget increase may pass after all.

After canvassing on Monday, Butler County voters still rejected the increase, 856 to 744.

But the school district lies in two counties, and when Butler County’s final results are added to Sedgwick County’s votes, the issue is tied: 1,575 to 1,575.

Sedgwick County still has to count its remaining votes, which include more than 1,000 provisional ballots. Not all of those voters live in the Andover school district, but some might, and some may have voted on the issue.

Tabitha Lehman, Sedgwick County’s election commissioner, learned of the tie Monday.

“I’ve not heard of a tie on something like this before, but that certainly doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened,” Lehman said.

With candidates, ties are broken with a game of chance, such as flipping a coin or drawing a name out of a hat. But according to state law, “if a question vote ends in a tie, it’s a no vote because it fails to pass,” said Ronald Roberts, Butler County’s election officer.

Because Butler County is the home county for the issue, Sedgwick County will tally and report its votes to Butler County and let it decide the issue, Lehman said. She expects Sedgwick County’s canvassing to be completed by Thursday night or Friday morning.

Andover superintendent Mark Evans said the district planned to present two budgets to the Board of Education meeting on Monday: one with the local option budget increase and one without.

Passage of the issue would raise the Andover local option budget by 1 percentage point, and the mill levy would decrease by 2.5 mills instead of 3 mills.

The local option budget would generate over $430,000 for the school district, and the money would fund faculty, coaching and support staff positions, among other things.

Should the increase eventually pass, the positions would require approval and would be on the Board of Education’s September agenda, Evans said.

“It’s a great example of every vote does count,” Evans said.

As of Election Night last Tuesday, the LOB increase had failed in Butler County, 851 to 732. In Sedgwick County, the vote had passed, 831 to 719.