Voters make statement at polls

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 3, 1999

The Referendum.

Wednesday, November 03, 1999

The Referendum

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Austin High Senior Rory Ellegard will still be able to take his art classes next semester and teacher Diane Wangsness is assured of no dramatic leaps in class sizes.

Both made sure they voted in favor of the school district’s $1.9 million excess levy referendum. They weren’t alone: the referendum passed with 4,250 for and 1,639 against.

"It was so little money," Wangsness said, "… you could take your family out to a fast food place and spend that much, the same as you’ll spend per year."

For Wangsness, class size and keeping current programs were critical.

For Ellegard, getting to continue taking art classes at AHS got him to the polls.

"Basically, what I really wanted to vote for was the referendum," Ellegard said, when asked about casting his first vote in a public election. "Why? Because of the effect it would have on me as a student – if it fails, they’re gonna take second semester courses out. I’m very involved in art and that was my big concern."

The Candidates

That making a decision between 17 candidates wasn’t easy may have been the only unanimous decision coming from the district voters. However, those who were willing to speak about their vote added one more qualification: that the candidates weren’t incumbents.

"I read the articles in the paper outside of class; that’s how I made my decision," AHS senior and student voting judge Jon Holtorf said. "No, it wasn’t difficult. If they weren’t incumbents – that’s basically all I looked for – plus I had some friends whose parents were running."

A couple – who asked to remain anonymous – said they "kind of didn’t vote for any incumbents, read the statements in both papers and talked to people who knew some of the candidates."

Cindy Fuhrman voted for people she thought had "good common sense and the ability to make independent decisions." Fuhrman didn’t comment on whether she used the incumbent yardstick in her decision making process; but she did say she read the papers and watched the forum on KSMQ-TV to get a feel for the candidates.

"I thought the 17 were a good broad base to choose from," Fuhrman said.