Voters in Wayne County have once again rejected a school bond levy. In the process, they’ve lost $20 million in funding from the state School Building Authority.
Wayne County was granted the money during the last SBA cycle to go along with the passage of a $33 million bond. The money would have gone towards paying for a new, consolidated elementary school for Ceredo and Kenova, a new pre-K through 8th grade facility in Crum, renovations at Lavalette Elementary and new turf for the county’s three high school football fields.
Voters overwhelmingly rejected the bond on Saturday with 4,200 votes against and 1,700 in favor.
SBA Executive Director Mark Manchin says since the bond did not pass, the grant money will now go elsewhere.
“That twenty million dollars going to the citizens and children of Wayne County, those funds will be distributed and be considered in the April meeting to go to the other 54 counties, those counties that have submitted projects,” according to Manchin.
The SBA has long had a policy of helping counties who help themselves. That means school systems usually need to come up with 20-30-percent of the funding for a project in order for the SBA to offer up grant money.
Manchin says in this case, Wayne County taxpayers just weren’t willing to pay for new schools.
“It’s unfortunate but the people of Wayne County have spoken,” Manchin said.
Part of the $20 million would have gone to build a new school to replace the old Ceredo-Kenova Elementary which had to be shut down at the end of the 2011 school year because of a sinkhole on the property. Students are currently attending classes in portable buildings.
Manchin says each county has different priorities and in Wayne, schools aren’t at the top of the list.
“Our schools are critical. The safety of our children is critical and unfortunately it takes money to address those needs,” Manchin said.
Two counties did pass school bond levies over the weekend, Marshall and Tyler counties.