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Levy Election Costs
School And Library Question Has $300,000+ Price Tag
November 12, 2013

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With a looming multi-million dollar Kanawha County Schools deficit and the library system desperately searching for funds, superintendent Ron Duerring says the system had to pull the trigger on the school and library levy vote to find out if extra cash would be available.

"I think we had to know from the public whether they wanted to move forward," Duerring said. "To maintain what I consider a healthy school system, moving our students forward or not."

The Kanawha County Commission is actually paying the election bills, starting with about $200,000 to poll workers. The school system will eventually reimburse the county, with costs possibly rising up to $350,000. However commission president Kent Carper questions the wisdom of even having the special election.

"I'm not on the school board," Carper said. "That's their business. But I cannot imagine that I would ever vote to spend $350,000 and then say well we did this so we can find out what the people think."

Duerring says the system didn't wait until next May's primary to float the levy because state law mandates all personnel decisions be made by April 15th before the next school year.

With rising insurance costs, cuts in federal funding and 2 million dollars less in Medicaid reimbursement, the system had to prepare for a tighter budget.

"If we didn't notify everybody by April 15th and we waited until the May election, then we couldn't reduce the personnel we needed to do to live within our means," Duerring said. "And we would have had to keep them on, employees that we couldn't afford."

Carper says if current law limits when the school system can present a levy, better planning and foresight may have allowed a vote during the last general election, avoiding hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs.




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