The Times West Virginian

In Today's TWV

July 15, 2007

Harrison school bond soundly defeated

Voters reject $42.5m proposal overwhelmingly

FAIRMONT — Unofficial results indicate Harrison County voters voted against a proposed school bond Saturday.

Preliminary reports indicate the bond failed with all 93 precincts reporting. Unofficial results indicate 4,454 people voted against the measure with only 2,874 voting their approval.

According to the bond call issued by the Harrison County Board of Education, the total amount requested from taxpayers was $42.5 million. Reports indicate the measure would have cost the average taxpayer $61 a year. An additional $20 million was expected to come from the state School Building Authority, and $4.7 million would have come from the HCBOE. If it had passed, the bond would have paid for at least three new schools and renovations to several others within the county.

Carl Friebel, Harrison County Superintendent of Schools, said Sunday the voters had spoken.

“We’re disappointed,” Friebel said. “We were talking about getting a significant amount of money from the SBA, now it will go elsewhere.

“Although it didn’t pass, the problems remain. We’ve got significant overcrowding situations in Bridgeport (schools) and aging buildings in other areas,” he said.

Friebel noted the board spent hours getting input from the community to make the bond a success, but to no avail.

“We thought the bond package was solid,” he said.

In addition to the promised money from the SBA, Friebel said the HCBOE had a donation offer of a tract of land in Bridgeport valued at $10 million for a new school there, and the HCBOE had a carryover of more than $7 million from last year’s budget to devote to the projects.

“We had almost a dollar-for-dollar match,” Friebel said.

Since Monongalia County passed a bond for new and improved schools recently, the Marion County Board of Education had been watching the situation in Harrison County closely.

Harrison’s bond failure wouldn’t impact a proposed bond in this county, Marion County Superintendent of Schools James Phares said Sunday.

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