Tucker to put school levy back on ballot

PARSONS – After being defeated by just two votes in the May election, Tucker County school officials are putting a levy proposal on the November general election ballot in an attempt to raise money for the school system.

At the same meeting, the Tucker County Board of Education approved more than $13,500 in pay raises for school system administrators.

The Tucker County BOE voted unanimously Monday to approve running a levy proposal in the Nov. 4 general election to authorize additional tax levies for five years. The proposed levy amounts will remain the same as those in the May 13 primary election.

Dr. Eddie Campbell, superintendent of Tucker County Schools, said the levy would be for five years and would generate $501,000 each year, containing funds for maintenance upgrades and improvements, and for supplies given directly to students.

Campbell said there would be no changes from the previous proposed levy, except the date of the election.

“This needs to be voted on and approved before I can turn this information over to the Tucker County clerk,” Campbell said. “The figures, what we are using the money for and the levy rates will all remain the same.”

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. 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.

Approximately $40,000 per year would go to textbooks, and approximately $50,000 per year would go for travel. 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.

The initial results from the May 13 primary election showed the levy failing by three votes. A recount of the ballots on May 30, requested by Campbell, showed the levy failed by two votes. The final numbers were 687 votes for the levy and 689 against.

The levy rate would be 0.000516 percent of the assessed value of class II property, or residential, and 0.001032 percent of Class III & IV, for vehicles and rental property. For $100,000 market value property, the cost will translate to about $30 per year.

In a work session following the BOE meeting, members decided to ask community residents to help with the passage of the levy by forming a levy committee that will speak at meetings, to groups and to individuals hoping to gain support for the proposed levy.

  • Also during Monday’s meeting, BOE members voted to approve salary raises for three employees.

The increases include a $2,500 salary increase for Tucker County High School Principal Jay Hamrick, a $7,496 increase for Treasurer/Director of Finance David Lambert, and a $3,642.82 increase for Director of Support Services/Food Services Director Jonathan Hicks.

The decision came following an hour-long executive session. This was the third time the salary increases appeared on the BOE’s agenda: the raises were tabled during the June 23 and July 21 BOE meetings.

The supplement adjustments were originally proposed to be effective July 1, but with Monday’s vote, will be effective Aug. 1.

BOE member Tim Turner voted against the pay raises, while members Janet Preston, Marvin “Bud” Parsons, Kevin White and Judy Fairbanks voted for the salary increases.

The next Tucker County BOE meeting is slated for 4:30 p.m. Aug. 18.