Renaissance Academy bond call fizzles at the ballot box

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The proposed Monongalia County Schools Renaissance Academy $142.6 million bond call failed to pass the muster with voters and failed by a nearly two-to-one margin of 11,578 against and 5,404 for.

The facility was billed as the first comprehensive high school in the county devoted to a career-focused delivery system that offered vocational and technical options. The science, technology, engineering, and math center with vocational options was intended to transform learning into a hands-on experience teaching skills needed in the local economy.

“We were hopeful we would get it through, but we were also hopeful it would be closer than what it was,” Monongalia County Schools Superintendent Eddie Campbell said. “I think next up for us, the board is going to have to reflect on the result and what that means to them as far as the next steps will be.”

Over the past several months, school officials have shopped the concept to a variety of groups and organizations. Members of the Board of Education also held events on social media for questions and comments about the facility, curriculum, admission, and how the facility would be staffed.

“I really don’t know what else we could have done as a school board or as the committee—what more they could do to educate the community,” Campbell said.

Shawn Smith was elected to his first term on the Board of Education with the highest vote total of any candidate and wants to make advancements despite the failure of the Renaissance Academy bond call.

“We can still advance education, and I still think there are opportunities to put money in certain areas in certain places,” Smith said. “A lot of people in the community want to give; they just want to give something they feel comfortable with, and that’s what we have to figure out.”