Hard decisions ahead for Brooke Schools

Brooke County Schools are facing another crisis in their operations.

This time, a “miscalculation” on the operating levy approved by voters last year has resulted in a $3.2 million shortfall for the county school district. The levy itself, on the books for more than 40 years and always supported by county residents, provides funding for staffing, programs and services not covered by the county’s allotment from the state.

In its most recent form, adjusted under former Superintendent Toni Paesano Shute, the levy also covered pay raises for teachers, service personnel and others, promised after similar raises were provided to board staff.

Current staff discovered calculations in implementing the levy call veered greatly from the actual expense, and now the school board is looking into having to cut staff and various other cost-cutting measures in order to make up the difference.

Cuts to personnel must be made before the beginning of May in order to be included in the budget for the next fiscal year.

A drop in enrollment in recent years already has the county receiving fewer funding from the state, making this new information even more difficult of a pill to swallow.

Board President Ted Pauls has encouraged Superintendent Jeffrey Crook to be creative in finding a solution. We would encourage all county school officials to do the same, and leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding options, as long as it is not to the detriment of the education of our youth.