Recount Requested for Vote on New D-Y School

DENNIS – A recount will be held in the towns of Yarmouth and Dennis following the close vote approving a new district intermediate school that will house students in grades 4 through 7.

The $117 million facility passed by just 32 votes on December 4. The vote was split among the towns as Yarmouth rejected the school 1,955 to 1,502 and Dennis voted in favor 1,361 to 876.

The plan calls for closing the Mattacheese Middle School in Yarmouth and Wixon School in Dennis.

The new school would be located in Yarmouth next to the Station Ave. Elementary School.

A recount petition was filed in both towns on Friday with the certified signatures required.

“The petitioner who asked for the recount had a valid reason because there was a 32 vote difference,” said Terri Bunce, the Dennis Town Clerk. “Also, there was a malfunction at one of our precincts with the ballot machine.”

Bunce said a spare ballot machine was brought in. There was also an issue with some voters running both the school vote ballot and the funding ballot into the machine at the same time.

“That’s where there could be possible questions,” Bunce said.

The Board of Registrars will meet Thursday to set a date and time for the recount.

The hand recount is expected to happen early next month on the same day in both towns.

Sharon Wimer, a Yarmouth resident who opposes the new school, is a member of the group who filed the petition.

“There is a lot of people wondering about the need for this kind of building when you have a Cape Cod Commission population study indicating that there is going to be a great loss of population in the school system,” Wimer said.

There were also individuals unhappy with the decision to head directly to a district vote and bypassing town meeting in each community.

Some individuals were also concerned with the voting hours which ran from only noon to 8 p.m.

Wimer says the group also was unhappy with the amount of information provided to the public regarding the project leading up to the vote.

“I’m not sure where it will lead,” Wimer said. “I don’t know, but I certain thought it was worth trying.”

School Committee member Jeni Landers says there were several meetings and forums where the school was discussed by the school committee and the building committee.

“The agendas are posted in advance. The minutes are posted,” Landers said. “Everyone had the right to come and obtain information and provide to us their opinion during public comment.”

Landers said the plan was not completed in a vacuum or overnight.

“We do our best to put the information out there, but if people don’t seek out information on topics they are interested in we can’t be responsible for spoon-feeding information,” Landers said.

The recount is only on the district school vote and not the town votes on funding.

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