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School Board
To Present Revised Levy
by Gary Knight

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In a special meeting held on Monday at 5:30 p.m., the Calhoun County board of education, upon recommendation of superintendent Timothy Wood-ward, voted unanimously to again seek voter acceptance of an excess levy for Calhoun County Schools.

Two versions of the levy, the original and a revised one, were considered at Monday’s meeting. Aside from an additional $77,026 in enhanced funding and service expenditures, the revised version is fundamentally the same as the one that was rejected.

During the Primary Election in May, 1,572 county residents split their vote, with 727 in favor (46.25%) and 845 opposed (53.75%).

Although he recommended the revised version, Woodward expressed willingness to accept either: “I am not opposed to either one of the levies. Either one of them would help this school system move back in the direction it needs to move quicker.”

Woodward said that he believes regaining community support is going to be a “long, intensive process.”

Woodward advised the board that he plans to:

--Engage in open communication with the public on all aspects of the system.

--Provide information on school budget and how it works.

--Discuss with the community what the levy does and doesn’t do.

--Maintain transparency.

--Publish financial reports.

--Publish the recent audit report “which was very, very good in terms of our proper use of federal, state and local funds.”

“It’s going to be a long process of education and answering a lot of questions on my behalf from the standpoint of regaining the community support. We’re going to be financially and physically responsible for whatever dollars this community decides to partner with us in, if they choose to do that. As governances of the board, it’s your role to tell me how much you want to ask for, and I’m not opposed to either.”

Board president Steve Whited reported that most people that he has talked to about the levy don’t view the increase as a huge one: “As far as percentage, it’s 43%. A lot of them are 80 to 100%. We are one of the lower percentage levies.”

Proposed additional property tax rates within the new levy proposal, in cents per hundred dollars in value on each class of property, are: Class I, 10.64 cents; Class II, 21.28 cents; Class III, 42.56 cents; and Class IV, 42.56 cents.

Funds afforded through passage of the levy are earmarked for facility maintenance, custodial supplies and equipment, utilities, and continued existing maintenance, textbooks and workbooks, fine arts, technology and library operations, vocational and extended curriculum, supplements to county support organizations, supplements and transportation for extracurricular elementary and secondary school programs, band supplements and program, restoration of funds for professional development and for substitutes for professional and school service personnel.

Total projected cost is $700,472 for each year through 2019.

Funds for reinstatement of days lost to service personnel, school administrative personnel and board office staff by state mandate were discussed.

While there were no guarantees, an intent to reinstate those days was targeted for the next contract period beginning July 1, 2015.

The superintendent said, “Once the levy is passed, let’s say the board says to me, ‘Mr. Woodward, our priority is to reinstate custodial days back where we decide we need them to be.’ Let’s say we need them to be back at 240.

“Understand that I can’t do that until the next cycle of contracts. The only reason we could do it this time, with my proposal to you, was that we had a state mandate to do it.

“If things go well in the grievance next month, then we’ll be able to uphold that, but I can’t write a new contract until the contract season starts. So you may say (on) July 1, you want first priorities to restore these days, but all the money doesn’t come in at one time.”

Funding appropriations for a successful levy will begin July 1, 2015, but no money will appear before August, 2015. Even with a levy passage during the General Election on Nov. 4, there will be no financial/fiscal changes prior to July 1, 2015.

Items approved under new business included:

--Student transfers: parent Burton Baringer, 8th grade, Calhoun to Gilmer; parent Annette Benson, 12th grade, Ritchie to Calhoun; parent Erica Cottrill, kindergarten, Wirt to Calhoun; parent Amber Fox, 1st grade, Gilmer to Calhoun; parent Teresa Taylor, kindergarten and 6th grades, Calhoun to Clay.

--Home school: parent Paula Boggs, 7th and 7th grades; parent Carolyn Checkan, 8th grade; parent Becki Dye, 12th grade; parent Shirley Naylor, 7th grade; parent Miranda Sampson, 12th grade; parent Sherry Watkins, kindergarten; parent Judy Wagoner, 6th grade.

--Volunteers: Sue Arthur, Gloria Stevens, Sue Williams, all locations; Andrea Bailey, Crystal Brenneman, Natasha Boggs, Amanda Hicks, Paul King, Debbie McClain, Shelly Metz; Robert Bailey, Megan Barton, Brenda Clawson, Cathy Hall, CM/HS; Lorie Bailey, Sheila Hall, AES and CM/HS; Horst Motz, Naomi Toler, Jim Welch, Orla Leeann Wright, PHS.

Personnel items approved:

--Employment, professional, Michael McHenry, special education teacher; Brandi Richards, county technology integrated specialist; Margaret Bennett, substitute teacher; Cathy Pierce, librarian/English teacher, CM/ HS; administrative, Karen Kirby, attendance director, 100 days, work from home; Save the Children, Timothy Whipkey, bus operator, activity run, AES; extra-curricular, Jeannie Bennett, assistant softball coach, CM/HS.

The meeting adjourned at 6:16 p.m. The next regular meeting will be held on Monday, Sept. 15, 5:30 p.m., at the Mt. Zion board office. Work session will be held at 4 p.m.

This Week's Editorial:

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