BUCKHANNON - Ballots in Saturday's special levy election have been canvassed, and official results show the levy passed by 23 more votes than was originally announced.
After canvassing the votes for the Upshur County Board of Education excess levy renewal proposal, officials now can say that the levy has passed by 439 votes. Prior to canvassing, the difference had stood at 416 votes.
"We're just happy that they (the community) came out in larger numbers, and that they overwhelmingly passed it to show their support of the students," Superintendent of Schools Roy Wager said.
Upshur County Clerk Debbie Thacker Wilfong, right, and County Commission President J.C. Rafferty seal up the final levy votes, one precinct at a time. (The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman)
Of the 3,133 votes that were tallied, 57.01 percent voted for the levy, a total of 1,786 voters, and 42.99 percent voted against the levy, a total of 1,347 voters.
"I think it's fabulous," BOE member Patrick Long said. "It's nice to see that we had this increased output of voting - of people coming out to vote. Even to have this many people, it means that people are starting to pay attention and they care a little bit more. I'm glad it passed, and it's a nice way to go out on your last year. I think we're moving in a good direction."
Long is in the last year of his term as a member of the BOE and is not seeking re-election.
The levy will raise an annual $3,346,000 from July 1, 2014, to June 20, 2019. The current five-year levy that is in effect expires on June 30.
The funds raised by the levy will support instructional programs, supplies, materials and equipment in the form of $800,000 annually. Another $200,000 annually will be utilized for contracted services like athletic trainers, technology services, crossing guards and the prevention resource officers at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle and High schools.
Capital improvements and preventative maintenance will reserve $1 million annually. The amount of $500,000 annually will be used to pay substitute teachers. The amount of $346,000 annually will supplement extracurricular activities. For student-related community services, $50,000 annually will be raised by the levy.
The levy's passage means that all students enrolled in Upshur County Schools and Upshur County residents, 60 years of age or older, will be permitted free admission into all regular extracurricular school activities. This requires an identification card issued specially through the school system.
The passes will be available at the Board of Education office for students and seniors once they are available.
Contact Melissa Toothman by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.