Reaction to Salem referendum defeat

Here’s some reaction to the defeat of the Salem School tax levy referendum:

Patricia Merrill, board president

On the referendum’s supporters: “There were just so many people ┬áthat worked so hard for this.”

On why people voted no: “It just didn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with what was on the ballot” but instead was anger aimed at the board.

She also noted that even more people were likely out of work this time than last time, if the economy was a deciding factor.

Paula Hollandsworth, referendum opponent

“People were kind of tired of having this thrown in their face. The people have finally said enough is enough.”

Hollandsworth suggested the board form a task force to formulate a three- to five-year strategic plan.

Cary Artac, referendum supporter

On the referendum’s result: “I can’t say I was surprised. I was hopeful.”

On the reason for the no vote: “The economic climate, that is what we were hearing, and we understand that.”

On the underlying problem of school finance: “The real issue is a statewide issue” with the school aid formula.

On the effect of the cuts: “You can’t really skimp on education. The school is the heart of a community. This is our future.”

Richard Carrison, former board member and referendum opponent

The message of the result: “I think the message is just a little louder this time.”

On the future: “The school’s going to have to live within their means.”

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