Education, News

Website provides school levy information

KINGWOOD — A new website will allow the public the opportunity to calculate what their tax liability will be if a new school levy is passed this year.

Members of the Preston County 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 to be placed on the May ballot.

Brad Martin, superintendent of schools said a new website, will not only let county residents get information and calculate what their tax liability will be, it will also allow anyone interested to fill out a form to endorse the levy.

“A list of projects the levy supports can also be found on that site, ” Martin said. “We have bee able to do a lot with funds from the last levy, and we are grateful for the support we received in passing it.”

In February 2019, Preston County passed a five-year levy that generated $4.5 million per year for creating financial support for building upgrades and repairs, field trips, on-site learning experiences, instructional, office supplies, matching funds for grants and additional personnel.

A few of the major projects paid for with levy funds include bleachers at Central Preston and Preston High School (PHS), multiple roofing projects, HVAC at multiple schools, library renovations, paving at Bruceton, PHS and Aurora, and gym refurbishing at six schools.

Martin said if the current levy passes it will cost the tax payers less than what the last levy did. He said the new levy would become effective July 1 of this year and run for five years.

Preston County Schools lost 140 students this year to options like home schooling, charter schools and other alternatives. But students are not all that has gone down in numbers. According to Martin, a combination of factors, including enrollment loss, loss of ESSER funds and possible loss of levy funding could lead to the loss of 31 professional and 28 service personnel positions this coming school year.

“There are seven or eight positions we could pick back up if our student count goes up.” Martin said. “If there is no levy funds, funding for those positions will come out of our regular budget.”