With early numbers in, voters in the Burlington-Edison School District are rejecting a request from the district for a one-year, $2.4 million supplemental levy.

As of Tuesday night, about 53 percent of voters were rejecting the measure — 1,137 votes against compared to 1,012 in support of the measure.

“It’s going to be really hard,” Burlington-Edison School Board President Rich Wesen said of the loss.

If approved, the district would have used the money — 74 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value — as a supplement to its 2016 voter-approved replacement educational programs and operations (EPO) levy.

The district was seeking the supplemental, one-year levy in order to make up for state funding gaps.

The district had scaled back its 2016 EPO levy request in anticipation of potential changes to state law in how much districts could collect in local levy dollars.

In order to comply with a 2012 state Supreme Court decision that ruled the state was not living up to its constitutional obligation to fund public education, the state earlier this year devised a plan, which it said would pay for basic education by raising property taxes across the state.

That plan wouldn’t go into effect until 2019.

If, after final numbers are released, the measure fails, the district will have to find ways to reduce spending.

“This wasn’t extra, even though it said ‘supplemental,’” Burlington-Edison School District Superintendent Laurel Browning said. “It’s teachers and curricular and busing. It’s $2.4 million we will not be able to collect to continue basic education programs.”

The next ballot count will be released Nov. 9, with votes being certified Nov. 28.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141, kwanielista@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kera_SVH, facebook.com/KeraReports

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