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Tax hike for Baldwin school system defeated

GULF SHORES (AP) — Voters in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach by large margins have rejected a 7.5-mill property tax increase that would have funded a new school system separate from Baldwin County.

The measure failed Tuesday in Orange Beach by a vote of 1,482-586. In Gulf Shores, the vote was 1,611-767.

Opposing the school split, Baldwin County Schools Superintendent Faron Hollinger said he's "obviously pleased with this outcome, but I'm disappointed it had to come to this point."

Orange Beach Mayor Pete Blalock and Gulf Shores Mayor G.W. "Billy" Duke III, supporting a separate school system from the beach towns, were disappointed by the results of the referendum.

Blalock said the cities will follow the lead of their appointed school boards as far as how
to proceed in the upcoming weeks.

Another referendum on a property tax increase could not be held for at least a year, officials said.

Gulf Shores has 5,118 registered voters while Orange Beach has 4,676, according to officials.

The two cities have four schools — Orange Beach Elementary and Gulf Shores Elementary, Middle and High schools — with an enrollment of about 2,200.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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