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Mon school district discusses excess levy benefits

MORGANTOWN — Nicole Kemper was throwing big money around during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Monongalia County Board of Education.

Rather, the treasurer of the district was discussing the big oomph those excess levy dollars bring to public education here.

That comes to more than $31 million a year, she reported.

Mon voters will vote on the latest levy for the district in a special election Sept. 25, she said.

For 48 years, that’s been a “yes” vote – and generally on the landslide scale.

Good thing, BOE President Nancy Walker said. The levy does a lot of heavy lifting for the district.

Especially during the past 15 months of the pandemic, Walker said.

While Walker allowed that it was challenging with distancing and other protocols dictated by the contagion, Mon’s school district fared better that a lot of others across the state precisely because of the excess levy dollars doled out.

“It’s part of the reason we were a little bit ahead,” she said, as districts hunkered down following Gov. Jim Justice’s call to shutter schools March 13, 2020.

The document voters will continue in September is projected to bring nearly $32 million in school coffers, the treasurer said.

Next month’s closure of the Mylan/Viatris facility will make dollars a little dicey, Kemper said, adding that she watching and waiting to see what those ripples may be.

In the meantime, there were projected line items to report.

A total of $1.5 million will be pledged to the instructional materials line item, Kemper said, with that same amount earmarked for student services, including counseling and other health and well-being measures.

Look for $1.25 million apiece to go to technology services and extracurricular activities.

Music, art and drama programming will benefit from a $250,000 outlay, with $145,000 set aside for science and math supplies.

The county Technical Education Center on Mississippi Street will take in $100,000 for its community education efforts.

Employees will be lifted up by a $17 million outlay funding long-term disability insurance and dental and vision benefits.

Walker said the “excess” in the excess levy isn’t a good word. That’s because so many programs are enhanced and made possible, even, each time voters send it through for another five-year cycle, she said.

“Those dollars make all the difference.”

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