- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Fairfax County voters overwhelmingly approved a bond measure worth more than $246 million for school construction and renovations in municipal elections yesterday, while Alexandria and Arlington residents elected a new sheriff and a new School Board member, respectively.

The school referendum passed with 72 percent of the 255,485 ballots counted by Fairfax officials by 10 p.m. yesterday — though election officials said all absentee ballots had not yet been counted.

Nearly $33 million of the funds will provide for the construction of one new elementary school, planning for two new elementary schools, modular additions to two existing schools and future site acquisitions for county school use.

In addition, more than $177 million is slated to pay for the renovation of eight elementary schools and one high school in the county, and also will fund the planning process to renovate eight more elementary schools, one middle school and one high school.

In Alexandria, voters picked a new sheriff for the first time in 20 years. Democrat Dana A. Lawhorne, a 26-year veteran of the city police force, garnered 58 percent of the 33,443 votes cast to defeat Republican challenger William C. Cleveland.

Mr. Cleveland, 57, polled 42 percent of the ballots cast, according to unofficial results last night. The retired U.S. Capitol Police officer last month earned the endorsement of former sheriff James H. Dunning, a Democrat who had held the position since 1985.

Mr. Cleveland and Mr. Lawhorne, 47, sparred over who created a local neighborhood-watch program and Mr. Lawhorne’s past stance on pay parity for sheriff’s deputies during their campaigns.

Mr. Lawhorne ran on a platform of improving rehabilitation efforts for inmates, reducing overcrowding in the city’s detention center and increasing the presence of the sheriff’s office in the community.

In nearby Arlington, Edward J. Fendley, a Department of State consultant and president of the Drew Model School Parent Teacher Association, soundly defeated challengers William S. Barker, 53, a former civilian Navy official, and Cecelia M. Espenoza, 47, an immigration lawyer for the Department of Justice in the race to replace Elaine S. Furlow on the county School Board.

Mr. Fendley, 40, received nearly 55 percent of the 47,705 votes cast with 49 of 50 precincts reporting late last night. Mr. Barker and Miss Espenoza received 24 percent and 20 percent of the vote, respectively.

School Board elections are nonpartisan by Virginia law, but Mr. Barker, who also lost in a 2004 bid for the board, was endorsed by the Arlington County Republican Committee.

Mr. Fendley earned the endorsement of the Arlington Democrats, and said he would work to expand opportunities for students to learn foreign languages, work to better share school facilities with local communities and promote physical fitness among county students.

In the other local race on the county’s ballot, G.N. Jay Fisette Jr. was re-elected as Arlington County Board chairman. Mr. Fisette has been on the board for eight years and ran unopposed. He received more than 97 percent of 42,655 votes counted by 10 p.m.

Loudoun County voters also passed eight school bond measures, worth about $180.4 million, to construct and renovate facilities, including $35.7 million to build a 1,350-student middle school in the Dulles area and $63.5 million for a new 1,600-student high school in western Loudoun.

The school system, one of the fastest-growing in America, had 34 schools and 15,118 students in 1991. The system opened with more than 47,000 students in 68 schools this year.

Loudoun residents also passed an $8.03 million bond measure to construct a new joint fire and rescue station in Purcellville. The measure passed with 42,597 of 55,965 votes cast in the station’s favor.

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