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Wayne County officials to regroup after failed school levy

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By JAMES E. CASTO

For The State Journal

WAYNE — County school officials were expected to huddle today to plan their next step in the wake of Wayne County voters' overwhelming rejection of a proposed $33.1 million school bond levy.

Unofficial results of the special election conducted Dec. 15, showed a little more than 1,700 voters said "yes" to the levy while more than 4,000 voters said "no" to it.

The voters were asked to authorize the Wayne County Board of Education to sell $33.1 million worth of bonds. If approved by the voters, the bond dollars would have been matched with another $20 million from the West Virginia School Building Authority, for a total of $53 million.

The $53 million would have been used to build a new elementary school that would consolidate the current Kenova and Ceredo elementaries and a pre-K through eighth-grade facility in Crum. School officials had said the funding would also provide for the installation of artificial turf on the football fields at the county's three high schools and building enclosures at Lavalette Elementary.

If approved, the 15-year bonds would have been repaid through an increase in property taxes.

Prior to the vote, school officials said they would immediately meet to plan for the school system's future no matter which way the levy election turned out.

The levy's defeat leaves a question mark over the future of Kenova Elementary. The school was closed in May 2011 after a giant sinkhole developed on the property. Kenova Elementary's students are now attending class for a second year in modular classrooms set up on the ball fields at the former Ceredo-Kenova High School.

Officials have said it's costing the school system about $300,000 a year to rent the modular classrooms.