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Levy passes easily in Berkeley County

May 10, 2006|By ROBERT SNYDER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. ? Berkeley County voters overwhelmingly approved the renewal of the county school system's special levy during Tuesday's primary election, promising the school system more than $22.6 million in additional revenue that school officials say is badly needed to keep up with the county's growth rate.

Voters approved the levy renewal, with 5,420 votes in favor and 2,142 votes against, according to complete, but unofficial results.

School Superintendent Manny Arvon said revenue from the levy will account for about 17 percent of the schools' annual operating budget and was necessary to fund supplemental salaries and housing allowances for school teachers, as well as pay for the cost of textbooks and to help fund extracurricular activities for students.

Berkeley County Schools, which is one of only seven counties statewide to see consistent enrollment increases, have added more than 5,100 students in 15 years, and continues to increase by about 700 students annually, according to school officials.

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Student enrollment is expected to increase to more than 18,000 students by 2010, according to a school system publication.

Arvon said the funds from the excess levy, which has been in effect for 54 years, also provides support for both regular and special education instruction, as well as teachers' benefits.

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