Continuing excess levy renewed

PARKERSBURG – Wood County’s 63-year-old excess levy for schools was renewed by voters in a special election Saturday.

Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes said the final tally was 4,343 for the levy and 1,137 against the levy with a turnout of 10.09 percent of the county’s registered voters.

Dr. Patrick Law, superintendent of Wood County Schools, said the levy, which amounts to a $16 million supplement to the system’s budget, helps pay for extras the school system provides to students.

“We will be able to continue programs we’ve had in place including additional school nurses, reading teachers, additional support for classrooms and good solid salaries that attract good teachers,” he said “With that we hope we will continue to be one of the best school systems in the state of West Virginia and help our students achieve all they want to in life.”

Law said a defeat for the levy would result in the loss of those items and cuts would go into effect on July 1.

“We would lose all the support and obviously we would have to look at cutting positions that would be no longer funded and wouldn’t have the money to cover,” he said. “We’d have to reduce salaries and benefits; we would lose a lot.”

Passage of the levy does not increase tax rates. The additional funds will allocate $299,901 for salaries and another $200,000 will be put toward school technology grants for infrastructure and equipment.

The excess levy rates will be 36.72 cents (per $100 valuation) for Class II property and 73.44 cents for Class III and IV property.

Continuing excess levy funds are used for staff and employee benefits, maintenance/operations of buildings not covered by state aid formula; transportation; school supplies;, West Virginia University Extension and libraries.

Items the levy will fund are:

* $925,000 for reading resource teachers;

* $375,000 for school nurses;

* $1.7 million for continuing maintenance and buildings and equipment;

* $9,953,803 to maintain competitive salaries and benefits for teachers, service personnel and administrators;

* $447,913 for Parkersburg and Wood County Libraries and Vienna Library;

* $200,000 for technology grants;

* $800,000 for salaries for coaches and academic sponsors;

* $570,000 for supplement funding for substitute service and professional employees;

* $800,000 for a dental program for all employees;

* $225,000 for copier service and school materials;

* $275,000 for instructional materials for all students;

* $150,000 for Local School Improvement Council projects;

* $140,000 for library/media supplies, books, equipment, software and services;

* $150,000 for alternative school for troubled students;

* $50,000 for WVU Extension Service Program in the county; and

* $8,000 for Artsbridge and other art enrichment programs.