Levy to be sought in fall for Hancock schools

NEW CUMBERLAND – Hancock County voters will be asked to approve an excess levy for county schools this fall.

Although it is called an excess levy, the ballot measure actually is a renewal of a levy that is on the books and expires in June 2014, Superintendent Suzan Smith said.

“This levy helps with all the things that the state does not pay for,” Smith said. “There are a lot of programs that we wouldn’t have without this levy.”

The levy generates an estimated $7.1 million a year, which is about 18 percent of the total annual budget for Hancock County Schools, said Joe Campinelli, director of finance. The annual budget is about $40 million, he said.

The Hancock County school board on Monday approved putting the levy on the ballot for Nov. 9. If passed, the five-year levy would go into effect in July 2014 and last through July 2018.

The levy, one of three currently active in Hancock County, is based on $100 of the assessed value of real or personal property, Campinelli said. Different types of property are taxed at different rates.

Smith said the excess levy has been on the books for “many years” and pays for such things as technology upgrades, building repairs and maintenance, supplemental books, computer software, library materials, security improvements and programs for children with autism.

The levy also may help the district expand its Prevention Resource Officer program by putting armed officers in the county’s elementary schools, she said. Currently, the PRO program assigns officers to Oak Glen and Weir High schools and Oak Glen and Weir Middle schools.

Hancock County Schools also have a levy that is mandated by state law and a $37 million bond levy that was approved by voters in November 2010.

Also Monday, the board:

Approved teacher Tammy Fields and Principal Sarah Parson to attend the Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives “Train the Trainer” program slated July 15-17 at their daily rate of pay. Hancock County Schools will receive $20,000 from the West Virginia Department of Education to offset the cost of the training.

Learned that all Hancock County principals will be trained in the new teacher evaluation standards mandated by Senate Bill 359.

Approved a second and final reading for board policies covering such things as food services purchasing, advanced placement and evaluating pupil progress.

Approved a list of support organizations for the 2013-14 school year.