The buildup has been taking place for weeks, and on Tuesday, the unofficial election results for Yellowstone County's various school elections are in. Polls closed at 8 p.m., and results began to trickle in shortly thereafter.
In levy elections, results show a majority of voters in School District Two voting for SD2's general fund and technology levy. The "for" vote is leading, 59.31% and 55.29%, respectively.
Results also show a majority of voters in Lockwood voting for their school district's building reserve levy. The "for" vote is leading with 66.41% of the vote.
Voters in Laurel rejected their four elementary school and high school mill levies. The no vote for elementary school general fund and building reserve levies are 55.41% and 51.80%, respectively. The no vote for the high school general fund and building reserve levies are 54.83% and 53.91%, respectively.
Voters in Independent, Canyon Creek, and Pioneer School Districts also voted against their mill levies, according to unofficial election results. The "against" vote are leading, 53.99%, 48.73%, and 47.10%, respectively.
There were also a number of trustees elections across the Yellowstone County. In SD2, both Greta Besch Moen, who represents Zone 3 in the Heights, and Lindy Graves, who represents Zone 5 near the West End, ran unopposed. The only contested SD2 trustee zone was Zone 7 on the West End. Results show challenger Kevin Toohill leading, with 56.31% of the vote. Incumbent Connie Wardell is in second, at 42.66%.
Voters in Laurel had to choose two trustees out of a field of four. Kathleen Herr is in first place, with 32.55% of the vote, and Doug LeBrun in second, with 23.85%.
Dale Blom and Curtis Hughes came in third and fourth, respectively.
Similar to Laurel, voters in Shepherd also had to choose two trustees, but out of a field of three. Julie Hinkle and Kirk Brumfield came in first and second, with 38.87% and 37.35% of the vote.
Voters living in Pioneer School District had to choose a high school trustee to sit on Shepherd School's Board of Trustees. Tim Ley is leading, with 51.54%.
According to preliminary voting results, voter turnout was 54.83%, which Yellowstone County Elections Administrator Bret Rutherford described as a record. Traditionally, school elections have drawn less votes than other elections, such as those for state or national offices. The lowest school election turnout, according to Yellowstone County election's website, came in 2005, when only 5% of eligible voters cast a ballot.
Rutherford credited the higher turnout on mail-in ballots.
"It's easy last November. You get bombarded with political ads for six months in a row, but these ones are easy to forget. When it shows up in your mailbox, it's right there, it's easy to vote, and get it back to us." said Rutherford.
Stay tuned to KULR-8 News for complete coverage on the 2013 school elections in Yellowstone County.