Jefferson to vote on school tax

July 14, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The Jefferson County Board of Education voted Monday night to ask county voters to renew a real estate tax for school funding during an election in September.

The school board decided to add to the ballot the special levy that provides about 20 percent of the school system's budget, said board president Peter H. Dougherty.

The county is nearing the end of the current five-year levy. The levy going on the September ballot will keep the taxes at the same level from July 1, 1998 to June 30, 2003, Dougherty said.


The special levy is included on county real estate taxes and draws about 43.6 cents per $100 of assessed value on a homeowner's property taxes, school officials said.

The levy provides about an additional $6.9 million each year in funding to the schools, Dougherty said.

The annual school system's budget is about $35 million.

Without the levy, the school system would have to operate on a state formula which does not provide enough funding for Jefferson County, Dougherty said.

About half of the levy, $3.5 million, would be used to maintain salary supplements and stipends to teachers, professionals and service personnel and would include the first raises for teachers since the 1989-1990 school year, school officials said.

Dougherty said Jefferson County has to compete with surrounding states so it costs the school system more to keep good teachers than some other counties in West Virginia. In addition, the cost of living is higher in Jefferson County than other parts of the state, he said.

Another $750,000 would go for building repair and maintenance "so we continue to have the best facilities in West Virginia," Dougherty said.

Jefferson County Education Association liaison Tom Lange said that the union supports the levy.

Lange and Dougherty said county residents strongly supported a special levy the last time it was on the ballot.

"I think the people in Jefferson County have historically stood behind the school system. Many people recognize that without the excess levy we would not have the high quality schools we have," Dougherty said.

The levy also would provide $563,000 for classroom, library and vehicle supplies. The levy also provides $75,000 to public libraries and $12,500 to the county's 4-H program.

School officials said they want to add the levy vote to the ballot on Sept. 27, when the state is holding a special election on a pension fund issue.

Otherwise, the county school board would have to hold a special election on the levy issue.

Dougherty said that the last time the county board had to hold a special election it cost taxpayers about $15,000.

The Herald-Mail Articles