Osseo School Board race drags into the night

The Osseo School Board race was tight, and with 55 out of 56 precincts reporting at about 12:40 a.m. Nov. 6, it was still too close to call. Only 83 votes separated the candidates with the third- and fourth-most votes. That’s less than one-tenth of 1 percent difference.

Out of the five candidates on the ballot, the top three will serve on the school board. With 55 of the 56 precincts reporting, the three top vote getters were Dean Henke of Maple Grove, Linda Etim of Brooklyn Park and Jacki Girtz of Maple Grove.

Henke, the only candidate who is a current member of the school board, was safely in first with 24,194 votes, or 23 percent. Etim sat comfortably in second with 22,866 votes, or 21.75 percent. Girtz was clinging to third place, with 21,009 votes, or 19.97 percent. Gerhart followed closely with 20,926 votes, or 19.89 percent. Guyott-Hempel was at the bottom with 15,416 votes, or 14.65 percent.

Voters appeared to reject both proposed levies on the ballot. One was a 5-year operating levy that would provide $9 million per year. The other was a 10-year technology levy that would provide $5 million per year. With 55 of the 56 precincts reporting, the operating levy had 33,766 “yes” votes, or 49.92 percent and 33,879 “no” votes, or 50.08 percent. The technology levy had 32,446 votes in favor, or 48.3 percent and 34,726 votes against, or 41.7 percent. If the levies fail, the district expects to cut about $14 million from the budget during the next two years.

All results are unofficial pending canvassing.