The results of a vote for the Pittsfield-based school district’s amended budget is on hold because nearly 200 sample ballots were used for voting in Pittsfield.

If the results stand, the amendment would pass 507-297. Even if the 197 sample ballots that were used were not counted and all were in favor, the measure would still pass 310-297, according to Carol Anthony, office manager for the district, which also includes Burnham and Detroit.

Officials in School Administrative District 53 are checking with the school attorney, Drummond Woodsum, to make sure counting the sample ballots is acceptable, according to an email from Superintendent Dominic DePatsy.

School district referendum ballots are produced and delivered to the towns by the district’s main office. The mistake was a clerical one, DePatsy said.

In Pittsfield, a town of 4,215 residents and 2,990 registered voters, preliminary results showed the amendment was approved 316-98, according to a voicemail from Town Manager Kathryn Ruth. Burnham rejected the amendment, 166-143; Detroit approved it, 48-33.

The referendum vote was about whether to approve teacher retirement costs in the SAD 53 budget that a previous budget version did not account for.

Despite the 197 sample ballots mixed in with authentic ones, Ruth said, the numbers of total ballots still matched the number of voters.

“I think it was just an oversight,” she said. “We looked at the number of people who voted, and it matched with the number of ballots we had, so there weren’t any extra ones.”

It will take about a week before the district finalizes the vote, according to Ruth. In the meantime, no changes will be made to the current budget.

While the state doesn’t process or handle municipal and school district elections, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said it’s less of a worry when there that many sample ballots used rather than just one or two, because it doesn’t indicate individual voters attempting fraud.

The district’s school board voted in October to cover teacher retirement costs with additional state subsidies it is receiving.

The cost would not affect residents’ tax bills this year.

The cost of teacher retirement this year is about $95,000. The school district received an additional $100,000 in state subsidy to cover the retirement costs.

The towns voted last year not to budget for teacher retirement costs until the state decided what it would do with them, eventually shifting some of the retirement payments to school districts.

Jesse Scardina — 861-9239[email protected]Twitter: @jessescardina

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