Time to let school levy go

To the Editor,

I’m writing about the excess levy which will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. I read an article in the Oct. 21 edition of The Weirton Daily Times that explained it in detail. (“Superintendent asks for support of Hancock County Schools levy.”)

The levy, as Timothy Woodward, superintendent of Hancock County Schools, explained, will benefit students and those employed by the district as eligible professional and service employees One area of this levy supplements professional service and administrative salaries. The explanation of this levy also looks to provide medical and legal services, but I am not sure who would directly benefit from this. Another area talks about providing dental and optical insurance for eligible professional service employees. Most people I know with these coverages are responsible for paying it for themselves.

There are areas in this levy that I understand address free breakfast and lunch programs and school safety. Can’t we directly address those issues without adding all the other spending not directly benefiting our students? To me, it is like a bill that you know has a chance at solving real problems and adding pork to it to get it to pass. The pork makes it attractive to generate support, but waste is created while we strive to correct the real issues.

I also understand that companies and people looking to move into our county will look at the quality of our schools. I’m all for our students receiving a quality education, and I would love to attract businesses. But we have to strike a balance between what we can provide and what our residents are able to pay over the life of the levy.

As I understand it, this levy will take the place of one that has been carried on the backs of Hancock County residents for 70 years. Many of these people are raising families and others are living on fixed incomes. While the fixed-income residents can benefit from the Homestead Exemption Act, shouldn’t the exemption belong to them and not become a bone that is thrown their way, only to have their taxes increased in another area?

Let’s look at the budget to provide services that eliminates waste and reduces spending.

Where did the money from all the properties go when we eliminated old school buildings? I have a wish-list for projects and schools in our communities, but let’s not look at living beyond our means. When I look to expand, I do so when I have money to cover my plans. This is a hard reality.

We need to provide for all of our students, but we can’t forget those who will foot the bill. It would be wise to reconsider what we really need and look to provide only what is necessary.

Maybe it would be wise to let this relentless levy retire after 70 years, giving taxpayers relief. A no vote will reduce your taxes. When we revisit this, or another levy, let’s make sure the pork is gone and give our kids what they really need.

George Romage



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