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February 11, 1995

Two important elections await the decision of Perry voters this spring - one to choose a mayor and other city officials and the other to make sure our local schools have the money they need to operate and to choose a school board member. The school election is first on the schedule, coming up next Tuesday, on Valentine's Day, and somehow we traditionally seem to forget about it. Tie a string around your finger right now and go vote next Tuesday.

Yes, the school election is important even though it may not have the fire or drama of a good political fight for city offices. The annual vote next Tuesday on millages and candidates for school board in all county districts comes with a real sense of urgency nonetheless. We have this tendency to neglect our duties as good citizens at school election time, and that is a shame because so much is at stake.

In our democratic society, we vote to tax ourselves a certain amount in order to fund public schools. Every year you see or hear horror stories about districts where millages are not approved, usually because of a local problem, perhaps a personality issue or some petty controversy which brings about a negative vote to disapprove the millage.

Thank goodness we don't have that to wrestle with in the Perry district, but that does not mean your vote is unneeded. Millages still must be approved, as they always have been here, so please don't stay home next Tuesday. Go to your regular polling place and cast a vote for the school board candidate of your choice and to insure adequate funding for our public schools.

Perry has an enviable tradition of unfailing support for its schools and because of that we have developed an excellent school system. That can only be continued if we stand by our students, educators and administrators and provide them with the funds needed to keep the school doors open.

Who can vote in a school election? Any registered voter, 18 years of age or older, who resides in the Perry school district. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

These are the issues at stake in the Perry district: A ten-mill local support levy, five-mill emergency levy and the five-mill building fund levy. All three are for the regular operating budget and are the same that have been approved here in the past. Note this: Approval of the three levies will NOT result in a tax increase for support of local schools. Also at stake is a five-year term for office number five on the Perry board of education. The two candidates are Mike Dvorak, the incumbent, and Kenneth Frank.

Your enlightened vote is important on the millage questions as well as representation on the school board. Be sure to do your duty next Tuesday: Vote. Then we can begin concentrating on the April 4 municipal election. That always brings out a lot of, uh, discussion.

This year's municipal elections have a new twist. A bumper crop of candidates is in the running, and all in all we can look forward to a lively campaign. For the first time, candidates for city council, mayor and other offices will not run as Republicans or Democrats, thereby eliminating the need for a primary election. One election settles it. The winners on April 4 will be declared duly elected and ready to assume duties.

In some years past we saw some folks changing their party registration so they could support the person of their choice in a primary, then switching back again after the general election. No need to go through that process now. All candidates are running on a non-partisan basis, neither Republican nor Democrat. Spirited contests are guaranteed, and that will stir things up.

Of course, non-partisan elections are not exactly unheard of here. School board candidates have run that way for many years, and most judicial offices also have been non-partisan affairs for some time. So we're familiar with the concept even though it's new for the election of a mayor, councilman and other offices in this city.

So mark your calendars for two elections, not one, in Perry this spring. The first one is next Tuesday, for school millages and school board candidates, and the second is on April 4 for city elective offices. Both are important. Be informed and vote both times.