Giving Students Excellent Schools

Hundreds of Hancock County children will be starting the new academic year in a brand-new school next week. They and the thousands of youngsters who will attend the new Weirton Elementary School in the future have Hancock County voters to thank.

Voters in some areas regularly turn down requests that they increase their own taxes to pay for public school improvements. The same thing happens, usually in the same places, when education officials go to voters for tax levies to enhance school programs.

That does not happen in Hancock or any other Northern Panhandle county. In some of them, it takes research to determine when the last time was that voters rejected a school levy.

In 2010, Hancock County voters approved a levy intended to raise $37 million through sale of bonds. To that the state School Building Authority added $19 million for a package of improvements to several Hancock County schools.

The new Weirton Elementary School is, by far, the biggest single part of that program. The facility, designed to handle 950 students, replaces three old elementary schools. By all accounts, the building will provide an excellent, safe educational environment.

Public school teachers and administrators face a variety of challenges, some unknown to their predecessors just a few decades ago.

But here in the Northern Panhandle, one thing has not changed. One aspect of school administration is not a challenge. It is support from voters, who time and time again agree to pay taxes above and beyond state-level minimums, to support schools.

Congratulations, then, to Hancock County voters who have demonstrated once again that they want the very best they can afford for their children.