It took an additional six weeks to find out for certain what Big Walnut Local School District leaders already knew: The community supports its schools.

Unofficial results from the Delaware County Board of Elections from April 28 show the district's 5.45-mill operating levy was approved 2,688 votes to 2,230 votes, or 54.7% to 45.3%. Mailed-in ballots postmarked by April 27 will be counted with the official results.

The official count and examination of ballots will be completed three weeks after the conclusion of the election, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.

Because of the restrictions related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic – which also pushed back the primary election from March 17 to April 28 – the election was conducted via mail-in ballot, except in limited circumstances, such as if a registered voter is disabled.

The levy will cost homeowners $167 annually per $100,000 of property valuation – the same rate collected by the expiring levy, said Superintendent Angie Hamberg.

District treasurer Jeremy Buskirk said the issue is a continuing substitute levy. It would allow the district to gain additional revenue from newly constructed property each year, he said.

Income from the levy represents about 12% of the district’s operating budget and will provide money for day-to-day operating expenses, including teachers’ salaries, utilities and supplies.