BUCKHANNON — The proposed idea of a new comprehensive career-and-technical high school was put to rest as Upshur County residents overwhelmingly rejected the bond on Saturday, January 15.
The bond proposal required a majority vote to pass. At the close of the polls Saturday night, with 20 out of 21 voting precincts reporting, an astounding 3,390 registered voters chose to vote against the bond proposal and a solid 764 voters chose to vote in support of the proposal. Due to a technical error, votes submitted at Precinct 7, Selbyville Fire Department, are not included in the total.
“We appreciate the voters and supporters who have taken time to learn about the bond issue and focused on the importance of education in our community,” said Superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus in an Upshur County Schools press release. “While we are disheartened to learn the results of the election, our public has spoken and are satisfied with the schools we currently have. We are thankful to have carried the ideals of the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan back to our community for their consideration.”
If the outcome had been different, the bond would have provided funding to create a comprehensive career-and-technical high school, as well as recreated Buckhannon-Upshur High School into a new Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School. Also if passed, the bond would have accrued up to 4.5% annually, raising taxes for Upshur County residents. However, Upshur County School officials explained that the interest rate would likely be lower due to market trends and low interest rates.
The renovations that would be needed to recreate the new middle school were expected to cost about $8 million, while the largest part of the funds, $62 million, would have funded the new high school. The total cost of the project amounted to approximately $70 million. Of that, only an estimated $49.4 million would have come from bonds.
“A large portion of our operating budget goes toward repair and maintenance of our aging school facilities. We will continue to provide schools where all students can learn and succeed. While the bond proposed construction would have addressed a number of improvements, Upshur County Schools will assess our most urgent needs, allocate our resources appropriately and work toward a solution,” said Superintendent Dr. Stankus.
“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank everyone for their support and efforts in assisting the district throughout this process. As always, our goal is to continue to provide a quality education for our students. The board will refine educational and facility plans, as new directions are considered,” said Upshur County Board of Education President Dr. Tammy Samples.