Jerry French pleased with voter turnout

Published 12:18 am Thursday, May 5, 2005

By By RANDI K. PICKLEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES - The Niles Community School District welcomed Jerry French back to the Board of Education for another term, casting 1,005 votes in his favor on Tuesday.
The polls were slow to attract voters in the morning, but gained momentum as the day progressed.
French commented on his victory, saying, "It is good to see the community so involved. The voter turnout was fantastic.
French believes that, in addition to looking for ways to improve the school system, one of the crucial issues in this election concerned the millage.
French, who has served on the finance committee for the schools, said, "Understanding school finances and the complexity of a $33,000,000 budget takes many hours to study and understand. Passing the required non-homestead tax was extremely important."
Prior to the election, Superintendent of the Niles Community Schools, Doug Law, said that if voters did not pass the tax, the school district would not be able to operate the following year.
Although most of the Greater Niles area residents were are not required to directly pay the tax, which only applies to those who own second homes, businesses, or non-exempt agricultural land in the district, it was crucial that they vote on the issue regardless, since it contributes a substantial amount of funding to the schools.
Apparently the voters took that concern to heart because the proposal passed with 1,034 positive votes compared to 777 negative votes.
Still, with almost 2,000 voters showing up at the polls out of a total of 17,593 people registered in the district, French is hoping to reach more people in the community and keep them informed of the school district's needs.
He said he is pleased to have the opportunity to continue being involved in the process of making decisions to improve the schools, while still supporting the accomplishments that were previously accomplished by the Board of Directors, teachers, staff, and community members in the district.
According to Ruth Ann Harte, City Clerk for the City of Niles, the voter turnout was better than anticipated.
Harte was still hard at work Thursday morning gathering all the information submitted after the election in order to weave a comprehensive picture from the numbers and facts. According to Harte, tallying up the numbers is a little difficult since many people vote on more than one topic, which means their vote can count for more than one thing. Sometimes people don't choose to vote on a subject at all, yet their ballot is still processed. Sorting it all out takes time.
Yet, on the voters' decision in choosing a candidate, French was a clear choice.
Running against French were Dr. Toby Mitchell, a local chiropractor who received 541 votes, and Michael E. Gordon, an employee of the French Paper Company, who garnered 250 votes.