Gilmer County School Superintendent Ron Blankenship admits he was nervous during Tuesday’s vote canvassing with the school system’s excess levy clinging to a seven vote renewal margin.

Blankenship was relieved five hours later when the canvass was over and the excess levy had picked up five votes and ended up being adopted by 12 votes.

“I can’t overestimate high critical the excess levy is in the operation of schools here in Gilmer County,” Blankenship told MetroNews after the canvass was over. “It covers everything from free textbooks to extra-curricular activities.”

The excess levy provides a little less than $1 million a year for the system. Blankenship says he really doesn’t know why the vote was so close in the first place.

“Economic times aren’t good obviously,” he said. “There could be a lot of reasons. No one has stepped forward to give any specific reasons for why they voted for it or against it.”

Blankenship says he’s thankful to the voters of Gilmer County for renewing the excess levy.

The final count was 1,171 in favor of the levy and 1,159 against it.

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