by Kate Evans
The Morgan County School Board formally adopted the same proposed regular school levy and special levy rates for Fiscal Year 2023 that they approved for the last eight fiscal years. The levy rates were approved by the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office.
The board’s action took place at a reconvened March 15 special meeting on April 19 at the school board office at 9 a.m. Voters will consider the renewal of the Morgan County Schools special levy for the next four years at the May 10 primary election. The special levy is for the fiscal years beginning July 1, 2023 through July 1, 2026.
The proposed special levy or excess levy tax rates that were adopted are:
Class I properties—16.08 cents per $100 of assessed value; Class II—32.16 cents per $100 of assessed value; and Class III and Class IV—64.32 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Owner-occupied homes in Morgan County are considered Class II properties.
School regular levy or current expense levy tax rates set by the state that were also adopted at their meeting are:
Class I—19.40 per $100 of assessed value; Class II—38.80 cents per $100 of assessed value; and Class III and Class IV—77.60 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Class I properties, which are personal property used in agriculture, are completely exempt from taxation. Class II properties are owner-occupied residential and farmland properties.
Class III properties are commercial and all other properties located outside of municipalities.
Class IV properties are commercial and all other properties inside of municipalities.
For a home appraised at $200,000 with an assessed value rate of 60% or $120,000, the special levy tax would remain at $385.92 with the proposed levy rates—the same amount that it has been for the last eight years.
The special levy payment is in addition to regular state school levy taxes, county taxes and also municipal taxes that would be applicable if a homeowner resides within the Town of Bath or the Town of Paw Paw.
What the special levy funds
If approved by voters on May 10, the proposed special levy will provide an estimated $1,972,105 for employee salaries and benefits; $1,252,438 for critical education programs support; $400,000 for facilities maintenance, security and operations; $300,000 for capital improvements/repairs or purchase of property; $125,000 for technology hardware, software, infrastructure, repair and training; $400,000 for instructional materials, textbooks, programs and equipment; and $45,000 for the combined support of the Morgan County Public Library ($27,000) and the Paw Paw Public Library. ($18,000)
Morgan County Schools has had a special levy since 1958.
The $1.972 million special levy monies for employee salaries and benefits will raise professional and service staff pay above the state minimum to attract and retain highly qualified personnel.
The special levy pays the full salaries and benefits for any teachers or school staff employed above the state minimum. It also provides coaches’ pay and staff supplemental salaries for extracurricular academic duties.
Critical education, other
The $1.252 million for critical educational program support will provide funding for alternative education and prevention resources, academic enrichment and remediation, social and emotional support, health and wellbeing, extracurricular activities, science, technology, engineering and math (S.T.E.M.) programs and vocational programming.
It includes monies for remedial specialists and interventionists, social work and counseling positions and Advanced Placement (AP) programming.
Capital improvements is now a separate line item from facilities and maintenance and the combined support for the county libraries was raised from $35,000 to $45,000 at the recommendation of the state.
If approved by voters in May, the proposed special levy would bring in $4,724,733 annually over four years at the same tax rates that voters approved in the May, 2014 and May, 2018 special levy elections-a 70% reduced levy rate. That $4,724,733 amount is some $230,190 more than last year’s projected $4,494,543.
The regular state school levy is estimated to bring in some $5,586,232 in projected net taxes for Morgan County Schools for Fiscal Year 2023—some $272,161 more than last year’s projection of $5,314,071.
Projected revenue is minus allowances for uncollectables, exonerations, delinquencies and discounts.
The total estimated revenue from the combined regular school levy and the special levy is $10,310,965-$502,351 more than last year’s projected revenue of $9,808,614.
A school board budget work session will be held at the Tuesday, May 3 regular meeting that will take place at 6 p.m. at Warm Springs Middle School. The school budget will be approved for publication at the May 3 regular meeting.
A budget hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, May 17 for 6 p.m. at the school board office with the budget adoption set for later in the meeting.