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Jefferson County voters renew school excess levy

November 06, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County voters agreed Tuesday to renew a school excess levy that will help boost teacher salaries, pay for students' books and fund other needs in the Jefferson County Schools system.

With all 29 precincts reporting, 6,167 voters, or 64 percent, voted in favor of the levy and 3,487 voters, or 36 percent, voted against it, according to complete but unofficial returns.

A simple majority was needed for the excess levy to pass.

Jefferson County Schools Superintendent R. Steven Nichols and Jefferson County Board of Education President Lori Stilley were all smiles in the Jefferson County Courthouse Tuesday night as they watched returns come in.

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"I'm pleased the citizens of Jefferson County are supporting the schools. It's encouraging as we move forward," Stilley said.

Now that the levy is passed, "we'll move closer to that level of excellence we all want," Nichols said.

When the Jefferson County Board of Education voted to put the excess levy proposal on the ballot in August, it also decided to plug a slight tax increase into the proposal.

For someone who owns a house assessed at $100,000, the tax increase means that person's tax bill would increase by $13.80 a year, school officials say.

School officials are concerned about large numbers of teachers leaving the school system for better-paying teaching jobs in other states, and Nichols said the excess levy increase is vital to make salaries here competitive.

With the growth that is expected in the county, the school system needs to do whatever it can to attract teachers, Nichols has said.

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