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.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region
Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.
COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community
There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.
Putting a cost on safety issue has been culprit in 13 traffic deaths
Would you believe that an item costing just 57 cents — less than the price of a can of pop — is being cited as the culprit in 13 traffic deaths?
A simple 57-cent item.
That’s how much fixing the fatal ignition switches that General Motors installed in new automobiles would have cost, and 13 lives would probably have been saved.
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- Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives