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Dead vo-tech bill means bigger bond issue in Jefferson

March 22, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - An effort to build a vocational-technical school for Jefferson County students will have to wait another year now that a bill has died in the Legislature.

The bill to let the county build the center passed in the House of Delegates but failed in the Senate, said Del. John Doyle, D-Jefferson.

Board of Education members say they want the center so local students will not have to drive 40 minutes to James Rumsey Technical Institute near Hedgesville, W.Va., for classes.

A closer facility might also attract more students.

Not only does the long drive discourage Jefferson County students from attending courses at James Rumsey, it makes it difficult for students attending James Rumsey to fulfill other course requirements, said Pat Hubbard, coordinator of vocational, adult and community education for Jefferson County Schools.

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"It's very disappointing. We were counting on that," said Larry Togans, president of the Jefferson County Board of Education.

Togans said the failure of the bill will change the amount of the bond issue the Board of Education is considering proposing to the voters.

Before the bill failed, the Board of Education was considering about a $36 million bond issue that would pay for a new vocational school, a new high school and renovations to Jefferson High School.

The board is considering holding a bond referendum in September, but a final decision has not been made, Togans said.

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