KINGWOOD — Preston County voters passed a special school levy Saturday, 3,073 votes for to 2,731 against.
Preston Superintendent Steve Wotring was emotional after the unofficial total was announced at about 10:30 p.m. at the Preston Courthouse Annex, with all
28 precincts reporting.
“I promise you that we will do our best to be good stewards of your money,” he pledged.
“I hope that it means that finally we have worked to regain the trust of our county, and we’re going to be able to restore programs that we lost and really build a future for our county instead of watching it being torn apart limb by limb,” he said. “I’m just over the moon excited at the opportunity to be able to really work to improve our county instead of just looking at what I have to cut next.”
The board of education voted to put the five-year, $4.5 million annual levy before voters after a public outcry at hearings on the possible closing of Fellowsville and Rowlesburg schools. Wotring recommended the closings and other cost savings after voters defeated a levy in May 2018 by less than 100 votes.
After the board decided to proceed with the levy, a community group organized to promote it.
Tarrell Ries is president of the committee.
“There was just a lot of positive energy for this particular levy,” Ries said. “So many people were in support of it, and the people on the levy committee just came out and made it happen. We had some really good talent on the levy committee, and they used their talent and got the word out and kept it positive.”
Much of the campaign was on social media, with Wotring and others doing Facebook Live question- and-answer sessions, and families promoting the levy on their pages.
“I think it was really a coming together of the community; the Preston County community put this together,” Ries said. “I believe we’re finally on the right track.”