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Randolph County school levy fails for second time

ELKINS, W.Va. — After a long, tough battle, an education levy failed again in Randolph County Tuesday, by almost the same margin of votes as in November.

The proposed Randolph County Schools excess levy was defeated by a vote of 4,442 (53.23 percent) against the levy to 3,898 (46.74 percent) in favor, according to unofficial election results provided by county officials at the Randolph County Courthouse Tuesday evening.

On Tuesday, the proposed levy failed by 544 votes. In a special vote in November, a proposed levy was defeated by 542 votes.

Randolph County Superintendent of Schools Pam Hewitt said, “We’ve just received the results from the school levy that was presented to our community today in the election and, unfortunately, it was not successful.

“It is very disappointing because we were hopeful that it would pass this time because of the changes that we had made with the ballot in trying to work cooperatively with our community and the voters, but we just weren’t successful,” she said. “Again, it is disappointing, but we will have to look at the resources we have and make necessary adjustments to be able to continue to do the best job we can in Randolph County.”

Ken Shiflett, who fought against the excess levy, said, “We congratulate the other side. They put up a heck of a fight.”

The county’s education levy is set to expire at the conclusion of the 2015-2016 school year. A proposed levy was defeated in November by 2,694 votes against to 2,152 in favor.

In February, the Board of Education decided to pursue a levy call with a reduced rate, lower than that which is currently imposed on residents.

Newly elected board member and levy supporter Amanda Smith said, “It’s going to be hard few years with the levy not passing, and the residents are going to have to trust again in our board of education.”

Rachel Anger, who also won election to the BOE Tuesday, said, “We’ll have to look at every part of the budget and make adjustments.”

“I’m sorry the levy didn’t pass,” said outgoing Board of Education member Harvey Taylor, who lost his re-election bid Tuesday. “So, the new board members got some changes to make as they go into office, and I think we’ll have two great board members coming in, so I wish them the best of luck.”

“I’m disappointed, but I think we can try to work on something at some point that’ll work for more people, and we’ll do the best with what we have,” Anger said.

“We’d also like to congratulate the new board members, and we’re really looking forward to working with them,” Shiflett said. “We got about everything we could possibly ask for – we got two new board members and we got the levy (voted down), so we’re very, very happy.”

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