Tucker County BOE pushing to pass levy for education

PARSONS – Tucker County school officials spoke after Monday’s Board of Education meeting about their efforts in support of the county’s levy for education.

“The board approved us to run an excess levy vote,” Dr. Eddie Campbell, superintendent of Tucker County Schools, said. “It is for five years and is for a proposed $501,000 per year. It contains funds for maintenance upgrades and improvements and for supplies direct for students.”

Campbell said the board continues to see reductions in funding sources, but still is asked to do the same things at the same level of service.

“There are no more cuts we can make – we have no excessive budgets for personnel and there is no place left to go to offset the decreases in the funding,” Campbell said. “So we have to go to the community to ask for help. We are not asking for a lot because we know times are tough.”

Campbell said the levy just covers the items the public asked for during the community meetings held in the fall.

“Those are the things community members said they would like to support,” Campbell said. “Every penny of the levy will go to keep kids in safe, comfortable buildings.”

The superintendent said officials have talked about the levy vote at the Parsons Senior Center, at Rotary Club meetings and to school staff, and will make many more presentations.

The BOE will offer three public town hall meetings on the levy: at 6:30 p.m. May 6 at Davis Thomas Elementary Middle School, May 7 at Canaan Valley Fire Department and May 8 at Tucker Valley Elementary Middle School.

Lambert said the breakdown of the proposed levy would provide approximately $240,000 annually for construction, repairs and maintenance, and could be used to leverage School Building Authority monies. He said about $55,000 per year would go to operational expenses. Curricular, extra and co-curricular activities would receive $46,698 per year, while technology would receive $25,000 per year, textbooks would receive approximately $40,000 per year, travel would receive approximately $50,000 per year, supplemental support for Tucker County Libraries and 4-H would be approximately $25,000 per year and student and senior citizen athletic passes would account for approximately $25,000 per year.

Jonathan Hicks, Tucker County director of support services, said Tucker is one of only 12 counties in the state that do not currently have an excess levy.

Also during Monday’s meeting:

Tracy L. Chenoweth, who has served this year as interim principal at Tucker Valley Elementary Middle School, was approved for permanent employment for the coming school year during Monday’s Tucker County Board of Education meeting.

Campbell said it was a great pleasure to announce Chenoweth’s approval.

“I am excited to be taking on the position on a permanent basis,” Chenoweth said. “I taught business education at Tucker County High School for one year before this. Before that, I worked at the West Virginia State Department of Education for five years as an assistant career technical education coordinator.”

Chenoweth said she came to work in Tucker County to be closer to her family, and because she enjoys the county.

“Tucker Valley Elementary Middle School is a focus school, and we have been working full steam ahead to step that up,” she said. “We have already seen a 10 percent increase in our math and reading scores since November.”

Campbell read a retirement letter from Tom Gutshall, longtime boys basketball head coach at Tucker County High School. Gutshall’s retirement was effective Monday.

“I am resigning from Tucker County High School following 31 and one-half years,” Gutshall’s letter said. “I wish the program the best and I want to thank all of the residents of Tucker County for supporting me.”

Jim Ambrose and Darren Burnside, Tucker Valley Elementary Middle School head and assistant football coaches, also tendered their resignations effective Tuesday.

The next Tucker County Board of Education meeting is slated for 4:30 p.m. April 15 at the Tucker County Board Office.