Preston BOE concerned over budget

KINGWOOD — The first Preston County Board of Education meeting since voters nixed a school levy began with a number of students receiving awards.

One after another, neat youngsters with smiling faces strode proudly to the front of the room to received awards, including the Preston County Education Association Spirit of Education, Farm Bureau Poster Contest, state writer’s awards and others.

“This has been a difficult week, but it’s actually very nice to be here this evening and see so many of our students being recognized, and it really reminds me of why I do this,” Preston School Superintendent Steve Wotring said.

He thanked Clear Mountain Bank, Shaffer’s Printing, Assistant Superintendent Brad Martin, the levy committee and others for their efforts to get the levy passed, “and continuing to believe in us.”

Board President Crissy Estep, whose term ends June 30 and did not seek re-election, said the next board will have to make some hard decisions, and this one may as well.

“This is starting to become critical,” Estep said.

Wotring said the board’s budget shrinks every day. He promised to have  recommendations later this month on actions to take in light of the levy failure.

“We cannot afford to continue. You can only tread water so long before you tire out and start to sink,” Wotring said. “And before long we’re going to be back under if we don’t make some decisions.”

One area being looked at for savings is going all digital versus buying textbooks, which are expensive, he said. The superintendent said it may be that grades which have computers issued by the school will no longer have textbooks.

Board Member Robert “Mac” McCrum asked about a survey that went out to parents this week. Wotring said those were sent to Title I schools but they, “might spawn an idea for us.”

In other actions Monday night, the board accepted the bid of Tri-State Roofing for the Bruceton School and Kingwood Elementary roof projects, which are being paid for by the State School Building Authority.

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