Financial statement shows carryover

Barbour Board of Education members voted to approve the fiscal year financial statement at Monday’s meeting, which revealed a general fund balance carryover of $474,439.

Annette Hughart, finance director, said the amount is derived from a deficit of $174,300 and the OPEB (other post employment benefits) balance of $648,739, which rolls over from last year.

“The West Virginia Department of Education recommends the general fund balance carryover of three to five percent of projected revenues,” Hughart said. “Three percent is $454,000; four percent is $605,000; and five percent is $756,000.”

Hughart said the board experienced a $271,000 increase in tax revenue income for the year.

“The problem is that money is not a gain,” Hughart said. “That amount comes off of the funding formula amount we receive from the state. Without an excess levy, we cannot get ahead.”

One concern with the financial statement Hughart mentioned was delinquent student and faculty lunch bills.

“The amount owed to us has doubled in the last year,” Hughart said. “I would like to ask permission to get information to sell these accounts to a collection agency.”

Hughart told board members the unpaid balances owed to the child nutrition department is in excess of $109,000.

“The agency that sent out letters and made phone calls has not collected much money,” Hughart said. “They are not making a lot of progress on collecting these balances – that is why I would like to explore other collection options.”

BOE members told Hughart to explore other options and report back to them with the findings.

Also during Monday’s meeting, board member Joanne McConnell asked other members what their opinion would be regarding proposing another excess levy.

Both a bond call and an excess levy proposals were defeated during last November’s general election in Barbour County.

“I have been told by members of the public to run a levy again,” McConnell said. “But I have been asked for it to contain monies for needs, not wants. There was a lot of confusion about the difference between a levy and a bond.”

McConnell said the selling point of a levy would be to provide for maintenance of all schools, especially since the board voted Sept. 30 to keep Volga-Century and Mt. Vernon elementary schools open.

“I have been thinking ever since then how can we raise money in the county for our schools,” McConnell said.

“I think we heightened the awareness around this end of the county – that we don’t have enough money to keep this thing going. I am looking for a solution.”

Board president Bob Wilkins disagreed.

“I don’t think the community is ready for another levy,” Wilkins said. “I do not feel (the residents) are behind it.”

Barbour County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Super told McConnell he appreciated her concern.

“I did not come here to close schools,” Super said. “But I have a fiscal responsibility to you and all the taxpayers in the county.

“Running a levy again is going to be perceived that it is to keep those two schools open,” Super said. “Like it or not, that will be the perception. I am not sure we can get both ends of the county to support a levy.”

No decisions were made about running another levy, but all board members agreed they would like to hear feedback from Barbour taxpayers on the issue.

The next Barbour County Board of Education meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Board of Education Office in Philippi.

The local school improvement councils from Junior and Volga-Century Elementary Schools will make their annual presentations during this meeting.