Tucker schools gather input on levy

THOMAS – Tucker County Superintendent of School Dr. Eddie Campbell met with community members Tuesday night at Davis-Thomas Elementary Middle School in the first of a series of sessions to gather community input on needed items for county schools and the possibility of an excess levy.

Campbell was joined by Dave Lambert, director of finance and Jonathan Hicks, director of support services.

The superintendent explained the shortcomings of the school system budget, and elaborated on cuts that had been made. He told those in attendance that Tucker County was one of only 11 county school systems in the state that does not have an excess levy to help support the schools.

The moderator for the evening, Kelly Stadelman, compiled a list of items those in attendance felt were needed in the schools. That list was pared down to textbooks, including novels and reference books; a new gym and cafeteria at Davis-Thomas Elementary Middle School; up-to-date computers in the schools; and a better variety of advanced placement class offerings at Tucker County High School.

Audience members agreed they could not afford too much of a tax increase, because many had budgets that were already too tight. Several agreed they thought more money should be used from the hotel/motel tourism taxes for education in the county.

Campbell said he was impressed with how Tucker County residents came together.

“What is most impressive of this county is how supportive everyone is of one another,” Campbell said. “We reach out a lot. Our economy is not great, and businesses are still helping. But the type of funding we are looking at could not be covered by local businesses. One great thing about this community is they never complain.”

Concerns those in attendance had with a proposed levy were that it would not be supported by many older members of the community, and how the levy funds would be managed.

“A significant percent of the funds would come from Level 3 and 4 property,” Campbell said. “This is mostly businesses and rental properties.”

All those in attendance completed a community survey of Tucker County Schools. The next community input meeting is slated for 6:30 p.m. tonight at Canaan Valley Volunteer Fire Department and 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Tucker Valley Elementary-Middle School.