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Simi Valley Schools Request Recount of Gym Measure Votes

Times Staff Writer

Despite assurances that last week’s election results are accurate, Simi Valley school officials on Wednesday formally requested a recount of votes cast for a school bond issue that narrowly lost.

Measure B, which had to be approved by more than two-thirds of the voters to gain passage, garnered 66.1%, or 6,929 votes, in the March 7 special election. It would have provided $8 million to build gymnasiums and an auditorium.

Ruth P. Schepler, assistant registrar of voters for Ventura County, said the measure lost by 59 votes. She called the recount “an exercise in futility” and said the county’s results are accurate.

But Lew Roth, president of the Simi Valley Unified School Board, said that “as long as an outside chance exists that some of the ‘no’ votes could be converted to ‘yes’ votes, we feel obligated to give it a try.” The school board voted unanimously Tuesday to ask for the recount.

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“We’re keeping our fingers crossed,” Roth said.

The board has hired Peter Bagatellos, a San Francisco attorney specializing in election law, for about $1,500 to supervise the recount, Roth said. In addition, the school district will pay $160 per day to the county for the cost of elections technicians’ time, Schepler said.

The recount, which is scheduled Friday, is expected to take about a day, Schepler said.

A second school bond issue, Measure A, passed last week with 70.5%, or 7,410 votes--more than the necessary two-thirds. The measure will provide $35 million for new heating and air-conditioning systems for the district’s 27 schools.

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Simi Valley officials campaigned aggressively for both bond measures. A citizens committee supporting the measures recruited more than 200 volunteers and raised more than $6,000 to hire a political consultant and pay for other campaign expenses.


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