A levy concerning operating expenses at North Central Local School District came out in a tie as of election night and with five outstanding ballots, residents will have to wait until May 18 to get answers.

The Williams County Elections Board tabulated 616 total votes Tuesday night on the levy, the only issue appearing on the ballot. Of those, the votes were evenly split with 308 in favor and 308 against.

“It’s unbelievable to me,” Superintendent William Hanak said. “What are the odds of this happening? ... I would never have guessed this happening in a million years.”

The five-year, 3.87-mill levy would raise $420,000 annually and was meant to prevent the district from operating at a deficit, school officials have said.

“You have to have one more yes than no to win,” Hanak said after the unofficial election night results were released. “There’s going to be a recount and they have until (May) 15 to get (absentee ballots) ... So, this isn’t going to be decided tonight.”

According to an email from A.J. Nowaczyk, Williams County deputy elections director, there are three mail-in ballots that haven’t been returned to the elections office while two provisional ballots need to be certified. The latter will be done at the election board’s next meeting on May 18 at 4 p.m.

The district had tried twice last year to pass a levy to keep out of deficit spending.

In the 2020 March primary, a 0.5% tax on earned income failed by a margin of 498 to 361.

An attempt to get a 3.92-mill, five-year property tax levy (which would have also collected about $420,000 a year) failed in the November general election with a vote of 1,214 against to 885 for.

A split 50-50 vote is an improvement, Hanak said.

“We’ve narrowed the gap,” he said. “It’s encouraging that we have a tie but it’s disappointing that we don’t know the official results tonight. That’s where I’m at.”

With at least two and as many as five ballots that will be counted later, Hanak was neither optimistic nor pessimistic about the outcome.

The next meeting of the North Central school board is scheduled for May 18 at 6:30 p.m., two hours after the election board meeting.

In the email, Nowaczyk said it was the “smoothest election” he’s had and thanked the poll workers and office staff who helped make that happen.

“There were no hiccups throughout the process and Election Day went off without a hitch,” he wrote. “We cannot do what we do for the voters without their dedication.”

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