SP levy loses second round

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 8, 2000

South Point has decided the district’s children won’t get new schools any time soon.

Wednesday, March 08, 2000

South Point has decided the district’s children won’t get new schools any time soon.

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District residents voted down the 4.84-mill property tax levy, which would have provided a $7.1 million local match to about $23 million in state building assistance funds, by 416 votes.

"We did all we could do," said Rick Waggoner, South Point superintendent. "It’s not going to happen – not tonight, not here."

In the end, with 84 precincts reporting, 1,670 people voted against the levy, and 1,254 voted for it.

The more than 400 vote difference was an increase from the November election when the levy lost by less than 300 votes.

"I am very disappointed in the voters of South Point," Waggoner said. "All the other districts are getting new schools and South Point children will be left out. The ones who voted no didn’t win. The ones who voted yes didn’t win. The students and the community lost."

South Point has one more chance to approve a levy before the offer to build a new high school and consolidated elementary school, as well as renovate the current high school into a middle school passes the community by.

The next South Point Board of Education meeting will be March 13. Board members have not discussed whether or not they will pay to run the levy during a special election in August yet, Waggoner said.

"We have to analyze the data and see if there’s any reason to bring it back up," he said.

Assistant superintendent Chris Lester stayed at the Lawrence County Courthouse until the end – recalculating individual totals and waiting for the final results.

He couldn’t believe South Point voters would give up the chance for $23 million in state funding, but it happened, Lester said.

"I was optimistic. I think everybody was," Lester said. "I just don’t know what’s going on. Anytime the state’s going to offer you $23 million, you can’t turn that down. But we are."

If South Point decides to run the levy again in August it will be at the board’s expense, Lester said. As of yet, no other issues will be on the August ballot.

But if South Point doesn’t try again to get these new schools, it would be impossible to tell how long it would take for another opportunity like this to come along, Lester said.

"It will be a long, long time before the money comes around again," he said.

And, hopefully, the people of South Point will stick around long enough for that to happen, Lester added.

"I hope we’re not judged by buildings," he said. "I hope we’re judged by our academics."

Even without new buildings, South Point will continue to excel in the development of young minds, Lester said.

"As far as the report card, we’re second in the county academically," he said. "We’ve made some great improvements. We just have to pick up and continue what we’re doing academically."