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School officials ponder return of levy

The Jefferson County Board of Education may ask voters to renew an excess levy that will expire in 2003

The Jefferson County Board of Education may ask voters to renew an excess levy that will expire in 2003

July 17, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Board of Education members are considering asking voters in November to renew an excess levy that currently generates $9.1 million for teacher salaries, instructional materials, school maintenance and other areas.

The levy, which was approved by 61.4 percent of the voters in November 1997, will expire in June of next year if it is not approved again by voters, board members said.

Recently appointed Board of Education President Lori Stilley said the school system needs the support of teachers and the community to pass the levy.

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Before the next board meeting, Stilley said she hopes to have some ideas from teachers on how to mount a successful campaign for the levy.

Stilley emphasized the importance of having the excess levy to support teacher salaries and other programs.

Teacher salaries are an important issue in Eastern Panhandle counties because teachers can be lured to counties in nearby states for higher salaries, Stilley said.

The board of education is at a current bonding capacity of 95 percent and will consider going to a 100 percent bonding capacity, said Stilley.

Going to a 100 percent bonding capacity will result in a "very minimum" tax increase to county residents but could give individual teachers up to a $400 pay raise, said Stilley.

Stilley said if the Board of Education decides to ask for the referendum, it must succeed.

"This is something we cannot do, and lose," Stilley said.

Board member Delores Milstead said "we need to do everything we can" in support of the excess levy.

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