Barbour County voters will face some very important decisions in the Nov. 6 election. The Barbour County Board of Education has placed both an excess levy and a bond call on the ballot, seeking to raise money to improve the quality of education for students.
The excess levy and the bond call each would provide different benefits for the school system.
The proposed bond would provide funding for improvements to the athletic complex at Philip-Barbour High School. If approved by voters, the bond would raise $5,480,000 over 10 years.
If passed, the bond call will cover renovations and new construction at PBHS for the outside football and soccer fields, providing new bleachers, field lighting and an eight-lane rubber running track around the football field, as well as many other improvements.
The proposed excess levy, listed on the ballot as a separate measure, would help fund the purchase of educational materials, maintenance of school facilities and much more across the county. If passed, the excess levy would raise $2,191,456 per year for five years.
Dr. Joseph Super, the county's superintendent of schools, said last week that if the levy does not pass, the school board may have to close Mount Vernon and Volga-Century elementary schools, which both currently fall below recommended student enrollment capacity.
If the excess levy passes, Barbour schools will be able to provide free meals for students, if the county meets state qualifications, officials said.
More information about the proposed excess levy and bond call is available at the website www.barbourcitizensforqualityschools.com, which also allows residents to calculate what their taxes will be if the proposals pass.
"We're not hiding the fact that this is an increase in taxes," Super said last week. "But then the voter has to decide - do they want to to support education, or do they not want to support education?"
These are trying economic times, and we can understand why voters might not want to increase taxes. Still, we believe education is such an important issue that voters should give serious consideration to Barbour's excess levy and bond call proposals.