Brooke County Schools levy gets voter approval

WELLSBURG – Voters in the Brooke County School District approved the continuation of a school levy that has been in effect since the late 1950s during a special countywide election Saturday.

According to unofficial results from the Brooke County Board of Elections, the levy passed, with 1,337 voters voting for the proposal, or 72 percent approving; and 498, or 27 percent of voters, casting “no” votes.

The levy is expected to generate $6.1 million annually or $30.9 million over the next five years, according to school officials.

The amount is higher than in previous years, based on higher assessments for property values, but based on the same tax rates as before – 22.95 cents per $100 of Class I property; 45.9 cents per $100 of Class II property; and 91.8 cents per $100 of Class III and IV property.

Its passage depended on the support of 50 percent of voters plus one.

Brooke County School officials said the funds would be used for $375,000 for instructional materials, such as textbooks, workbooks and library materials; furniture, supplies, equipment and computer-based needs, such as hardware, software, infrastructure needed to support computer access, repair and staff training. That amount also will go to maintaining a connection with the West Virginia Education Information System, the statewide computer network through which information is submitted to the state Department of Education; and to supplement state funds allotted for state transportation.

A portion of the funds also will go toward $2 million for capital improvements, security, maintenance, renovations and repairs to facilities to ensure they comply with various state and federal standards and to provide contract services, county vehicles, fire and general liability insurance and to pay for utilities.

It also will pay $3,026,000 for staff not funded by the state, including extracurricular positions, substitutes for service and professional personnel and fixed charges. About $70,000 for extra duty wages for student academic and athletic trips, according to officials; $555,000 for dental, optical and health insurance coverage and retirement for all regular employees; and $110,000 for additional services, such as instruction of homebound students, tutoring, speech, occupational and physical therapy; psychological services, expulsion hearings, court recorders, grievances and participation in Regional Educational Service Agency 6 and other qualified agencies.

Kathy Kidder-Wilkerson, Brooke County superintendent of schools, said she was pleased voters had enough confidence in the district to vote for the proposal.

“I would really like to thank all Brooke County citizens for supporting our students,” she said. “I think it’s just awesome, and we really appreciate it.”