The margin got slimmer, but a school levy question in Lakeville still failed, according to the results of a recount held Wednesday.

In the Nov. 6 election, returns indicated Lakeville residents had rejected one levy question -- a request for $4.6 million a year in operating money -- by a mere 15 votes. The recount reduced that margin to 12, with a tally of 6,265 "yes" and 6,277 "no" ballots.

Also in that election, voters approved the district's request to renew levy authority that brings in $7.1 million a year. And they rejected a technology levy of $1 million a year.

The close vote on the $4.6 million request prompted levy supporter Don Sinner to collect signatures for a recount.

"It is what it is. We just wanted to make sure the count was correct," said Sinner, president of the local teachers union.

"I'm hoping now that the community can accept the results and move forward, because our work on behalf of children must continue," said Superintendent Gary Amoroso, who said he was not surprised by the outcome of the recount.

The levy's failure means the district faces $1.3 million in cuts for the 2008-09 school year and another $5.4 million the following year. The school board will meet with district staff next week to start looking at next year's budget, Amoroso said.

Last year, the district cut more than $7 million from its 2007-08 budget, including 104 full-time staff positions, after voters rejected a request for funding last fall.

Lakeville's recount comes a week after the Farmington School District held a recount on a levy question that passed by 12 votes. That recount reduced that margin to 10 votes.

Recounting the ballots by hand made a marathon of a day for six election judges, who finished tallying the votes around 6 p.m.

One unclearly marked ballot that recount official Michelle Volk deemed a "yes" vote was challenged by a member of the group that campaigned against the levies. But the challenge was withdrawn once everyone realized that the ballot wouldn't affect the outcome of the tally, said Volk, who oversaw the recount in her capacity as school board clerk.

A canvassing board composed of two school board members, a city representative, the county auditor and a district court administrator will certify the unofficial results today.

Sarah Lemagie • 612-673-7557