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updated: 4/9/2013 11:12 PM

No tax increase in Itasca District 10

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A proposed tax increase to help cover operating costs in Itasca Elementary District 10 fizzled at the ballot box Tuesday, sending school leaders back to the drawing board.

The measure, which would have added $1 million annually to the district budget, failed 1,107 votes to 743, according to unofficial results in all eight precincts.

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District officials said the tax hike would have offset a budget shortfall attributed in part to decreased state and federal funding.

Without the increase, Superintendent Marcia Tornatore said, the district will once again turn to its budget with an eye toward trimming.

"The district will take a look at its budget and make the appropriate cuts or reductions as necessary so as to stay within the budget and still maintain the highest standards of education that we have come to know," she said late Tuesday. "We are going to do what we can with what we have."

Tornatore said the school board will discuss next steps at its regular meeting Wednesday. She chalked up the failure of the proposal to "tough economic times."

"We had a lot of parents, committee members and staff members working very hard to articulate the purpose of the referendum," she said.

Administrators estimated the tax hike would have amounted to about $240 a year for the owner of a $300,000 home. Had it generated more than $1 million a year, the board vowed to return the excess to taxpayers.

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