PARKERSBURG - Wood County Schools Superintendent Pat Law spoke Monday to the Parkersburg Rotary Club, using the occasion to stump for the county's continuing excess levy.
Law opened his 30-minute talk at the Blennerhassett Hotel recounting country drives with his wife in Pocahontas County. He recalled coming upon an old, two-room school house.
One side, he said, was well-crafted with solid tongue and groove wood flooring, beveled glass windows and intricate, decorative molding. The other side was a much more bland room, lacking in detail and artistry.
"Which," he asked Rotarians, "do you think was built by parents?"
"The parents and community support the Wood County School system," Law said. "Many here contribute time and effort. A school system this size faces challenges every day," he added. "But overall, this is an excellent school system."
Law listed a variety of changes which have occurred in Wood County to educational services with regard to hiring and evaluation of teachers, new and different testing standards and curriculum guidelines. Assistant superintendents Bob Harris and Joe Oliverio will discuss changes to the hiring policies and teacher evaluations at tonight's Wood County Board of Education meeting.
"It very different from what we've had in the past," Law said.
The superintendent also highlighted a number of capital maintenance projects undertaken by the school system this summer, including Parkersburg, Parkersburg South, Williamstown High School and Edison Middle School.
"The levy support has allowed us to these things," he said.
Law said this year's proposed levy is almost identical to previous efforts, with one difference; money once used to transportation is being reallocated for technology grants.
The continuing levy election will be Nov. 23. It has been renewed consistently since 1945, according to school officials.
"It is not new," Law said.
Tax rates will not increase, but 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.
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.
"There are no bonds issued in connection with the levy," Law said.