It’s a Marion County tradition, and its people deserve to be proud.
Since about 1950 — for more than six decades — county voters have supported the school excess levy.
“It is critically important to maintaining Marion County’s status as one of the leading counties in the state of West Virginia when it comes to educational performance,” Superintendent of Schools Gary Price said.
Marion County schools, Price noted. typically score at or above the state and national levels in most areas of testing, and they have earned numerous awards for student academic performance.
“We feel that the taxpayers of Marion County are getting a good return on their investment because they have been willing to support Marion County schools at an increased level,” the superintendent added.
“It is our goal to help every child maximize their education potential in a safe environment.”
Marion County is now in the process of preparing for an election to renew the school excess levy for five more years.
The West Virginia Legislature annually sets the regular levy for public schools statewide. Local school districts then have the option to lay an additional — or excess — levy, which must be voted on by the people. The local election will take place on Saturday, Oct. 12. If voters approve the 100 percent excess levy call, as thay have traditionally done by a wide margin, it would become effective July 1, 2014.
These funds, so essential to the smooth, effective operation of the public educational system, are allocated to specific areas within Marion County schools and can’t be spent on anything else.
One category includes textbooks, instructional materials, teaching equipment and supplies for media centers.
The excess levy also supports additional salary and enhanced benefits packages, such as dental and vision insurance, for current professional and service personnel.
Marion County gives a salary supplement above and beyond the state minimum.
Funds are used to improve the maintenance and operations of buildings and to upgrade the transportation fleet.
The excess levy provides funds for technology upgrades, such as the replacement of laptops for teachers or student computers; capital improvements, focused on major renovations or additions to existing schools; and infrastructure upgrades, to the existing Internet or utilities, he said.
Every year, the board of education is audited by the state auditor’s office. If the levy money isn’t spent in the current year, it still has to be used for the same types of purchases in the future.
Continued local support for public schools is essential.
This year’s Marion County enrollment figures showed a slight increase, and we’re hopeful they’ll continue to build in the future.
“We just hope that Marion County’s business outlook and the education outlook are both in the upturn for the future,” Price said. “As more jobs are provided, more people will be able to stay here.”
Opportunities for additional employment and the resulting growth won’t happen without a strong educational system.
We’re confident Marion County voters will continue to be excellent partners in the process.
It’s a Marion County tradition, and its people deserve to be proud.
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Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past
Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.
COLUMN: Who would leave animal in sweltering car?
I was standing and debating between two brands of a product in a big box store when I heard a call over the intercom:
“Will the owner of a green Cavalier with a dog inside please report to the lawn and garden center.”
I shook my head. I hate seeing dogs in cars waiting while their owners shop. About five minutes later, there was another announcement over the intercom.
We must take all weather emergency alerts seriously
In a weather emergency, every second counts.
Think back to the derecho that devastated the state just two years ago. The powerful wind storm caused nearly 700,000 people in West Virginia to lose electricity, some who didn’t have power restored for weeks. A state of emergency was declared, and all but two of the state’s 55 counties sustained some damage or loss of power.
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