Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

February 14, 2014

School levy: Worthy of support in McDowell

— — Voters in McDowell County have been supporting an excess levy that provides funding for everything from textbooks for students to teacher salaries since 1942. That’s an impressive record. And now they are being asked to continue the levy until 2018.

Support from voters, and a continuation of this levy, is important. We’ve seen a tremendous amount of progress in the local school system over the past decade or so. Old schools have been demolished. New state-of-the-art facilities have been constructed. Student test scores have improved. A public-private initiative called Reconnecting McDowell has helped with everything from putting laptops in classrooms for students to the development of a planned teacher’s village in Welch.

Keeping the levy in place will help to maintain this positive progress. The election is Saturday. Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. Voters can cast a ballot at their normal polling precincts.

“It is really vital for us to have the excess levy to support the things we are doing,” McDowell County School Superintendent Nelson Spencer said last week. “I would urge all voters to continue to support the levy. McDowell County voters have always been very supportive, and the levy has [historically] passed by a large margin. The voters are to be commended for their support of the school system.”

If approved by voters, the levy would:

• Provide funding in the amount of $1,810,000 per year to maintain and improve all school facilities and grounds, provide a school resource officer at both Mount View and River View high schools, and help to ensure the safety of students.

• Provide instructional materials, supplies, equipment, furniture, textbooks, technology equipment and software, and the maintenance of technology equipment in the amount of $1,000,000 per year.

• Continue the supplement of the state’s minimum salary of each professional in the amount of $300 per month and $250 per month for each service employee.

• Provide for other costs, including utilities and other public services for the school system in the amount of $1,400,000 per year.

• Provide for the operation of secondary and/or vocational extended year programs in the amount of $75,000 per year.

• Provide funding for construction/capital improvements, including new schools and technology infrastructure in the amount of $200,000 per year

• Assist the McDowell County Public Library in the amount of $35,000 per year and the War Public Library in the amount of $10,000 per year.

• Provide funding for the McDowell County WVU Extension Office for educational programs and 4-H activities in the amount of $32,200 per year.

The good provided by the school levy can’t be ignored. It should be continued. We would urge voters in McDowell County to once again support this important measure.

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