Fayette County residents head to the polls Saturday to cast their votes on the continuation of an excess levy that raises 14 percent of the school system’s general operating funds.
Forty-four of 55 counties in West Virginia have an excess schools levy in place for the current fiscal year. They raise an average of $10.2 million in taxes per year for each school system.
Fayette County’s proposed levy would generate approximately $9.3 million per year for five years. The money would be funneled toward 29 programs ranging from science and math support to busing for athletic events.
For residents who live in a home that they own, property would be taxed at 46 cents per $100 of assessed value. Owners of vacant or nonowner-occupied property in the county would pay 92 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The Register-Herald recently posed questions regarding the levy to Fayette County School Assistant Superintendent Dr. Serena Starcher. The questions were largely generated from reader feedback and correspondence.
1. How specifically will these funds help increase student achievement?
“In addition to the $2,358,000 specified for professional salary support, targeted at recruiting and retaining qualified professional personnel, the proposed excess school levy includes approximately $2.5 million specifically focused on providing resources, materials and supplies to support student learning. The $2.5 million is identified through the following line items: free textbooks, instructional support, special education support, music support, art support, family and consumer science support, industrial arts and career technical education support, business education support, physical development and health education support, science/math support, reading support, 21st century technical curriculum support, and preschool.”
2. How will the money for the “Student Safety and Security” line item be spent?
“Funding for student safety and security will be used to expand the use of a trained and authorized security presence in the district’s schools. Funds will also be used to support the increased hardening of school facilities to resist outside threats and to increase the district’s capacity to monitor facilities and restrict access.”