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Dennis Roland, Robert Usry winners in Lee County election

Lee county voters pass an $11.75 million school bond referendum with 54 percent support

Lee County Commission Vice Chairman Dennis Roland has won a new term of office representing rural Lee County. (File photo)

Lee County Commission Vice Chairman Dennis Roland has won a new term of office representing rural Lee County. (File photo)

LEESBURG — It was close most of the night, but in the end 54 percent of Lee County voters who went to the polls in Tuesday's primary election approved a school bond issue that would obligate $11.75 million, mostly for improvements to the school system’s athletic facilities.

The final tally was 1,973 votes in favor while 1,661 voters opposed the measure. Of Lee County's 17,674 eligible voters, 3,706, only 20.97 percent, cast ballots in the election.

In Lee County government races, Dennis Roland retained his seat on the Lee County Commission and that Bob Usry has won the right to replace Robert Clay on the Lee County Board of Education.

Commission Vice Chairman Roland was defeated challenger Mike Sabot by a 369-183 vote, earning another four-year term on Lee County’s governing body.

“I hope people thought I am doing a good job and like what I stood for,” Roland said moments after getting the final tally. “I am glad it’s over. He’s (Sabot) been running for two years now. I appreciate people supporting me.:

Roland said plans to continue representing the interests of people who live in the rural portion (District 1) of the county and the results will not change how he serves on the commission.

“It will be business as usual,” he said.

Bob Usry won the District 1 seat on the Lee County Board of Education by defeating political newcomer David Brokamp 504-224. Usry will replace longtime Lee County school superintendent and School Board member Robert Clay, who decided not to seek re-election.

Usry said serving on the School Board has been a long-time goal of his, but he decided to not run until Clay retired.

The public school system has long been considered one of the best in Southwest Georgia academically and is seen as a leading reason behind the county’s growth during the past two decades.

However, school officials say the county has not maintained the same standard in terms of athletics. They contend Lee County High School’s athletic facilities are substandard, especially when compared to other members of Region 1-AAAAAA, which Lee County will compete against starting in August.

Among the bond issue’s expenditures are:

— $6.5 million for a new athletic field house.

— $1.2 million to convert the football field in artificial turf.

— $1.3 million to refurface the track.

— $309,000 for renovations to the existing field house.

— $803,000 for new computers.

— $125,000 for new playground equipment at each of the district’s four elementary schools.