Yesterday the voters of Orange Beach responded with a resounding “no” to a 5-mil ad valorem tax increase intended to fund a new city school system.

Initial results for the ballot measure, which had a record turnout for a referendum in Orange Beach, showed a clear victory for those opposed to city’s plan to create its own school system with 1,842 residents voting against a new school system and only 928 supporting the new tax.

Following the announcement of the results, Robbie Owen, interim superintendent of the Baldwin County School System, said being able to decide on issues like the school split is “one of the great things about being American.”

“While we don’t always agree, we have always been able to put aside our differences to make Baldwin County a great place to live,” he said. “In the weeks and months ahead the Baldwin County Public School System will be working with Orange Beach, as well as all other Baldwin County communities, to make our school system the best possible place for students to attend school.”

Baldwin County School Board President Norm Moore — who was vocally critical of the study Orange Beach used to justify the referendum — said in a statement that the students, teachers and administrators of Orange Beach “have been the target of erroneous information” since the discussion of the school split first began.

“I’m thankful that the community saw past the rhetoric and just plain wrong information that some put forth,” Moore said. “We have always believed that more can be accomplished when we work together. We all need to put this referendum behind us and move forward together to solve the challenges that are ahead.”