Voters Renew Levy

WHEELING — Residents in the Ohio County School District voted to renew the school district’s excess levy Tuesday.

Election night results showed 4,695 people voting for the levy, and 1,690 voting against it. Results are unofficial until certified by canvass.

The five-year levy goes into effect with the July 1, 2015 fiscal year, and continues through the July 1, 2019 fiscal year.

It is expected to generate $12,414,508 on an annual basis, according to the ballot language passed by voters Tuesday. Of this amount, $9,572,508 is to be directed toward salaries and benefits for school personnel; $2,400,000 for maintenance and operation of the school system; $310,000 for instructional materials, equipment and services; $70,000 for transportation and school buses; and $52,000 for support agencies and community services.

The operating levy represents about 20 percent of the budget for Ohio County Schools.

“We want to thank the voters,” said Superintendent Dianna Vargo. “We are very thankful to them for supporting our schools. This is a deeply passionate community that cares about its school students.”

In April, Ohio County Board of Education members voted 3-2 to maintain the levy rate at 95.5 percent, although property values have increased in the county. Future levies are expected to generate an additional $2.6 million annually under the new assessments.

Among those voting against the 95.5 percent rate was board member Shane Mallett, who favored dropping the rate to 95 percent. He thanked the voters for passing the levy on Tuesday, and promised to continue pushing to drop the rate.

“The taxpayers are always good to Ohio County Schools,” Mallett said. “They should know that we will use this money wisely. I also will continue working toward lowering the rate and giving them a tax break.”