Wood BOE to discuss Williamstown school

PARKERSBURG – Members of the school board are expected to continue discussions tonight on a proposed new Williamstown Elementary School.

Mike Fling, assistant superintendent of Wood County Schools, will update the Wood County Board of Education at tonight’s regular meeting.

Fling met with the Williamstown Elementary Steering Committee Monday night to review information from the state School Building Authority (SBA) and timelines for the planning process. Officials initially hoped to seek a SBA planning grant next month. Instead, school system officials are inclined to begin planning out the entire process – land, environmental studies, architectural designs, planning, funding and financing – before going to the SBA.

“When we present to SBA you have to have financing lined up,” Fling said. “We will step back and do the right thing, which is be prepared with the financing options.”

Fling said nothing has changed as far as timelines for funding, planning and development of the project.

Board President Tim Yeater, who is also on the steering committee, said one of the keys to getting the SBA on board with the project is the approval of a school bond.

“They want to make sure the bond is something the community will buy into.”

Yeater said local officials want to have everything together before coming out with a bond proposal.

“You don’t want to run a bond for Williamstown and then we come in with the proposal and there’s 10 other items attached to it.”

A school bond for proposed new school should not be confused with Saturday’s continuing levy election. A proposed school bond is a separate issue from the levy.

Continuing excess levy funds are used for staff and employee benefits, maintenance/operations of buildings not covered by state aid formula, transportation; school supplies, West Virginia University Extension and libraries.

The levy, if approved by voters, will generate $16,769,716; that’s an additional $472,537 for the school system. The additional funds would allocate $299,901 for salaries. Another $200,000 would be put toward school technology grants for infrastructure and equipment.

Proposed excess levy rates will be 36.72 cents (per $100 valuation) for Class II property and 73.44 cents for Class III and IV property.

Under the continuing levy tax rates will not increase.

The levy has been approved by Wood County voters since 1945.

“We want a bond that will pass; a levy that will pass,” Yeater said.

“Everyone talks about timing, but the reality is if you have a product, if it is what the community wants we are going to support it and that’s what we are after,” Fling said.