Pocahontas Board of Education Proposes School Levy
On the November 4th ballot, Pocahontas County will have the chance to vote for a school levy, authorized through provisions of the West Virginia State Code that provides funding to maintain, operate, and improve school systems.
A meeting was held on Monday night the Opera House to provide information about the levy. Mike Holstine, who is part of the Education Levy Committee, presented on the subject at the meeting. According to Holstine, about 80% of the other Boards of Education in West Virginia have voter approved excess levies, and most of those are at or above the proposed Pocahontas County rate.
“Pocahontas County actually has a history of attempting to pass levies that go back, I think, into the 80s. No levy has ever passed in the community,” Holstine said. “So about six months ago, the county school system employees, particularly those associated with the budget, in working out a multi-year budget, realized that there was going to be a shortfall in the funding sources. And so they formed a committee of a number of business and community leaders, and we met to determine whether or not a levy would be possible in the county, and if so, how much money would need to be raised by the levy, and that’s how it started. We’ve been meeting since then to try to determine what kind of services would be provided by that.”
The levy would provide approximately 12% of the funds required to operate Pocahontas County’s school system. If it were voted in, the levy would be in effect from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2020, with all funds going to Pocahontas County Schools during that five-year period. The Board of Education expects the levy to raise approximately $1,832,843 each year.
$10,000 Health Services – nurse supplies, equipment, cPr certifications for PcHs students.
$10,000 Fire Services – support of direct services and programs.
$10,000 Senior Citizens Services – support of direct services and programs.
$15,000 4-H and Energy Express Services – support of direct services and programs.
$20,000 Library Services – support of direct services and programs.
$60,000 will go to Alternative Education (advanced Placement and Extended Year Education-unfunded state requirements) – supplies, expansion of advanced placement classes to meet state requirements, extended year services and alternative education.
$100,000 Preschool Services (unfunded state requirements) – supplies, materials, travel requirements.
$100,000 Vocational Education – supplies, equipment, certifications, program extensions and creation of vocational program.
$120,000 Instructional supplies, technology and materials – supplies, materials, textbooks, upgrades to technology.
$250,000 Athletic and Band Programs – coaches, travel, registrations, referees, uniforms, supplies, equipment, custodial services, utilities.
$1,137,843 Maintenance, Security & Safety – School Building Authority match, regular and major maintenances, security system and guards.
The levy would be applied to real estate taxes. For a home valued at $100,000, the homeowner would pay $112 a year or 31 cents a day. Senior citizens would pay less, with a home valued at $100,000 costing the homeowner $75 a year or 20 cents a day.
A tax calculator can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/pocahontasboe/tax-calculator
If the levy is passed, Holstine said that all Pocahontas County residents will have access to in-county games, except regional playoffs, free of charge. He also believes they will be supporting a plan to help support and empower the young people in the county.
“You know, it’s amazing as you work in the county, the people that help with the Roadkill Cookoff, the people that help with the Greenbrier River Race, you see a trend now for younger and younger people to get involved,” Holstine said. “And that is so crucial. It is so vital to the health of the community that they step up and get involved in the things that make a community a community, not just a place that you live and get a paycheck and go home from.”
“That all starts with the education that the students receive, the place that they get their education, the programs that they receive, and the experiences that they receive,” he said, “and it is absolutely vitally important to the health of a growing community that the youth be involved in the things that are going on around them. And this is one way to help that.”