With election just over a month away, Barbour County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Super asked Philippi City Council Tuesday for their public endorsement of the proposed excess levy and bond.
Super attended the meeting on behalf of Barbour Citizens for Quality Schools. The excess levy and bond proposals will be on the county's ballot in November.
The bond is on a 10-year term and proposes to raise $5,480,000 toward improvements of the athletic facility at Philip Barbour High School. Super said the facility "benefits every student that wants a degree from Barbour County Schools."
According to Super, 44 counties in West Virginia currently have an excess levy.
"It will allow us to provide what we should be providing all along, not extras," Super said. "If you want a degree from Barbour County, there's only one school you have to go to."
Key items in the bond, according to Super, are the football field, track, and new field house for PBHS. The proposed track is an eight-lane rubberized track, which would allow for regional track meets. Also, bands will be able to perform at the field.
"It would be in essence an economic situation benefit to the county," Super said.
The field house would be completely new and placed in an area that can be utilized for all major sporting activities, providing an alternative to porta potties at certain athletic and band events. It could have potential to house a weight room, Super said. The facility would also include a concession stand and locker room.
A visual perspective of the proposed changes, along with a tax increase calculator and more information can be discovered online at www.barbourcitizensforqualityschools.com.
"The bond is the brick and mortar aspect of it; it's the visual aspect of it. The levy, on the other hand, is more of the day-to-day operations of the school system," Super said, adding that the excess levy is for a five-year term, proposing to generate $2,191,456 per year.
Those funds could provide transportation to after school activities, tutoring, upkeep of facilities with maintenance issues, staffing as needed, benefits to current employees, and to provide direct money to schools based upon student enrollment at an estimated $60 per student, according to Super.
One of the levy's line items could provide a child nutrition benefit. Barbour County schools would qualify for free meals if a minimum of 40 percent of students in the county are homeless, living in a camper or similar dwelling as their primary residence, or in a multi-family home due to a low-income situation.
If the required percentage of directly certified students is met, all students could receive free breakfast and lunch. Currently, Super said that Barbour County is not far from meeting that requirement with 39.27 percent of students qualifying.
Two councilman commented on the bond and excess levy proposals. Councilman Terrence Boyd said the measures are important, whether or not citizens have a son or daughter in the school system.
"I really feel it's worthwhile. I wish you the best. I will push for it and support it as much as I can," Councilman Ed Larry told Super.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, council approved amendments to the engineering agreement for the Water Treatment Plant relating to construction-based service fees. Craig D. Richards, project engineer for Burgess & Niple, asked council for an increase of $19,700 for sludge and backwater services and an increase in work hours, adding that there is a five-month contract extension to the the project that is now about 80 percent complete.
The additional funding will be taken from a contingency of unforeseen project expenditures. The city had already used $163,000 of $1,192,000 available in construction contingency funds, and $19,972 of $223,400 in project contingency funds, according to Richards.