By Sue Kiesewetter
HAMILTON - Talawanda Superintendent Phil Cagwin isn't ready to declare victory - yet.
But he's closer than he was two weeks ago when voters in Butler and Preble counties appeared to have defeated a $9.2 million bond issue by 10 votes.
Now it appears the measure has passed by 16 votes, pending official recounts, and it was walk-in votes in Butler County that turned the tide.
Monday, the Butler County Board of Elections did its official count and will certify those results today.
In Butler County, where most of the votes lie, the bond issue was passing, 3,799 to 3,741. In Preble County, which had no walk-in votes, the unofficial final count showed 11 votes in favor and 53 against, bringing the totals from both counties to 3,810 in favor and 3,794 against.
The official count in Preble County will be done Wednesday. The final count will probably trigger automatic recounts in both counties.
"Obviously I'm excited, but I'm not going to be totally confident until (the votes) are certified and we get the right number," Cagwin said. "It looks very positive."
For now, plans to construct a new school to replace Stewart Elementary are on hold.
Should the issue fail for a fourth time, the Talawanda Board of Education has until Dec. 18 to put an issue on the March primary ballot.
Talawanda isn't the only school district waiting for Preble County to determine a close issue. The fate of the Edgewood Board of Education race, with two open seats, hinges on Preble County's official count and certification.
Incumbents Linda McIntire and John Snyder lead with 1,724 and 1,719 votes, respectively. Challenger Lisa McIntosh, at 1,687 votes, could bump one of the incumbents, depending on Preble County's final count.
Meanwhile, today's official count in Warren County could decide whether Suzi Rubin keeps her seat on the 3-year-old Monroe Local Schools, a district she worked five years to form.
After Monday's count, Rubin remained in third place in the race for two open seats with 1,253 votes. Incumbent Jamie Pierce received 1,327 votes and challenger Chris Snyder had 1,268 votes.
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