Support renewal of Brooke school levy

Controversy over how Brooke County schools are administered has been flaring for several months. Many parents and educators have serious concerns.

Voting against renewal of the so-called “excess levy” to support schools is no way to address desires for improvement. Defeating the levy would make matters much worse.

In effect for many years, the levy provides about one-fourth of the total money budgeted for the school system. Reportedly, it raises nearly $7.8 million a year.

Think about how the loss of one-fourth of your income on a long-term basis would affect your household. It would be devastating.

Money from the levy is used for a variety of purposes. It helps the school system pay personnel more. It permits employment of some people outside the state’s school aid formula. It provides free textbooks and other instructional materials. It makes schools safer through employment of professional law enforcement staff as resource officers. It does much more.

It is unfortunate in a way that a vote to renew the levy, which must be held every five years, occurs now, as the controversy over administration continues. The fear is that some voters will act on their frustrations by saying no to the levy.

We don’t think so. The vast majority of Brooke County voters understand how important the levy is to children. They also see that the board of education is taking steps to deal with criticism heard during the past six months.

Early voting on the levy already has begun. The referendum itself is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 23.

We urge Brooke County voters to go to the polls that day and renew the levy. That action would not increase taxes because it merely continues a levy already in effect.

For decades, voters have said yes to the levy because they want the best schools posible for their children and grandchildren. They still do. No amount of temporary frustration with school administration can — or should — change that.