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BOE looking to approve new levy

KINGWOOD — In February 2019, Preston County passed a five-year levy that generated $4.5 million per year to support building upgrades and repairs, field trips, on-site learning experiences, instructional, office supplies and additional personnel at Preston County Schools.

That levy runs out next year. Members of the Board of Education recently approved a new levy call that will ultimately require board approval and submission to the Preston County Commission for review and approval. If it is approved, the levy call will be placed on the May 2024 ballot.

During an interview following Monday’s meeting, BOE Vice President Pamela Feathers stressed the importance of passing the new levy.

“This upcoming levy call is vitally important to the district. Maintenance of our buildings alone is a never-ending challenge. The last levy afforded us the opportunity to make many improvements and repairs in all of our buildings throughout the county. Unfortunately, even as homeowners, we know that upkeep is an ongoing priority for the longevity of any facility,” she said.

Due to decreased enrollment and the end of COVID relief funds, Preston County stands to lose 20+ positions in professional personnel and an even higher number in service personnel, Feathers said.

“It goes without saying what these cuts will do to classroom sizes as well as the ability to adequately staff for maintenance in each school. All of our students have had the opportunity to experience educational field trips that have been solely funded by our levy. Activities of this nature could not be offered without levy funding,” she said.

“I would encourage anyone that would desire more specific details of how levy funds have been utilized throughout the district or in their local school, to reach out to the county board office. That information is readily available and has also been shared periodically using different methods of communication. However, upon request we would be more than happy to provide additional information.”

Earlier, Superintendent of Schools Brad Martin said the cuts in personnel would be due to financial losses, including a loss of students, the loss of ESSER funds, the levy-based positions for next year and the uncertainty of the next bond passing.

In other business, Martin said second quarterly data meetings are set to begin next week and stretch into the following week. He said these meetings involve a team from the central office traveling to each district school to discuss ongoing academic and attendance data with school administration and other members of the school curriculum, student support and/or leadership teams.

A BOE Recognition Ceremony was held during the meeting for the 2023 JV volleyball, varsity volleyball and girls’ cross-country champions.

Board members recognized the Central Preston JV and varsity volleyball teams. Both had outstanding seasons highlighted by both teams capturing the Preston County Championship. JV members are Myla Zinn, Kylee Barr, Scarlet Bell, Aubrey Welch, Macy Thomas Ayla Fasouletos, Grace Estep and Laurel Hess.

Varsity members are Kalista Huggins, Magdalyn Wotring, Lannen Rouzee, Camryn Hayes, Addison Shaffer, Sophia Flowers, Maryn Shrout and Kendra Rankin. The team coach is James Bishop, who is assisted by Lisa Weaver.

The Central Preston cross-country team also captured the county championship. Team members are Zoey Borgman, Delaney Seese, Nevaeh West, Zoe Fasouletos, Alexis Goss, Rebekah Yates, Moriah Wilson and Sydney Wade. The coach is Tiffany Pyles.

The next meeting of the Preston County Board of Education will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Fellowsville Elementary School.

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