Schools to Place Levy on May Ballot

Ohio County Board of Education members Thursday night opted to save the school district as much as $50,000 and not hold a special election for the next levy renewal.

The levy, which expires at the end of 2015, will instead be placed on the May 13 general election ballot. Ohio County Schools has always held special elections on Saturdays when seeking levy renewals.

Ohio County Administrator Greg Stewart addressed the board during its meeting Thursday at Bethlehem Elementary School. He provided members with information comparing the cost of placing an excess levy on a special election ballot, when it would be the only issue before voters, versus putting the levy on the general election ballot alongside other issues.

Stewart said the price of a special election to Ohio County Schools would be between $70,000 and $75,000, and attributed most of the cost to employing 250 pollworkers for the election.

The school district, meanwhile, would share in the overall cost if it placed the levy on the general election ballot, he explained.

He told the board its share would equal between $25,000 and $30,000.

Superintendent Dianna Vargo said the levy generates about $12 million annually for the district and would represent about $60 million for Ohio County Schools over a five-year period if renewed.

“The board is being fiscally responsible in its duties,” said Board of Education President James Jorden. “We need to manage our budget in the best way possible for taxpayers.”

In other matters, school board members recognized a husband and wife who are both retiring from the district effective Dec. 31.

Deborah Myles is retiring as a teacher at Bethlehem Elementary following 31 years in education. Her husband, Ivan Myles, has been a bus driver for the past seven years.

Amy Baker was hired as an early childhood/careers in education teacher at Wheeling Park High School, while Jodi Yaeger was approved to be a teacher at Elm Grove Elementary School. Both hirings become effective today.