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McPherson USD 418 School Board, Bond Proposal and City Commissioner Election


By Lucky Kidd


McPHERSON, Kan. — For the 3rd time in two years voters in McPherson USD 418 on Tuesday rejected a bond issue. The $88.5 million proposal had its major item replacement the current academic area of McPherson High School. Unofficial numbers from the McPherson County Clerk’s Office just after 2:30 this morning indicated 2,149 votes cast against the proposal, 1,842 votes in favor.

Counting of ballots was delayed Tuesday evening after a mechanical break-down of the county’s vote tabulator about a half hour after the polls closed. While advanced ballots had been run through at that time, a new counting machine was brought in from Nebraska early this morning which required recounting of those ballots since all have to be counted on the same machine.

Meanwhile, McPherson County voters appear to have given overwhelming approval to repeal of a 30 percent food sales requirement for liquor by the drink. As of 2:30 this morning, with 80 percent of ballots counted, there were 3.366 votes in favor of dropping the requirement to 1,233 against.

The question was put on the ballot by McPherson County Commissioners at the request of the owners of two McPherson businesses. Voters in Reno County by a close to 3-1 margin also approved removing the food sales requirement from liquor by the drink.

One of the leading opponents of the USD 418 bond issue was the top vote getter among ten candidates seeking four seats on the USD 418 Board of Education in Tuesday’s election. According to unofficial results this morning Chelsea Busch received 1,548 votes to lead the field, followed by 1,502 votes for Rebecca Lewis-Pankratz and 1,500 for Jeff Johnson, the only incumbent seeking reelection this year.

The 4th spot on the board was apparently won by Bill Grove, who in unofficial results had 1,414 votes, 15 votes ahead of Virgil DeWild. Curt Peterson, finished 6th with 1,096 votes, followed by Perry McCabe, who was appointed to the Board last month to fill an unexpired term, with 1,057 votes. William Powers received 879 votes, Angie Goodwin 687, and Nancy Mills 730.

The two incumbent McPherson City Commissioners were re-elected to new four year terms Tuesday. Public Facilities Commissioner Gary Mehl defeated Kieryn McCann 2,300 to 788 while Larry Wiens was re-elected Streets and Utilities Commissioners over Mike McVicker 1,895 to 1,242.

As of 2:45 AM, ballots were still being counted in McPherson County, and as such we don’t have results on other city and school races. We’ll have updates on that later today. McPherson County Clerk Hollie Melroy told Ad Astra News there are 98 provisional ballots from Tuesday’s vote in McPherson County, with an additional 19 mailed ballots that were brought to polling places Tuesday. Mailed ballots postmarked by no later than Tuesday that are received in the mail by Friday will also be added into the count.