Without money provided through so-called "special" property tax levies in Brooke and Hancock counties, public schools there would have to make severe cuts in the quality of programs. Voters in the two counties should not allow that to happen.
Elections will be held in both counties Saturday, with voters deciding whether to continue special tax levies that have been in effect without interruption for more than half a century. Brooke County's levy dates back to 1958. Hancock's was approved first in 1949.
Some critics of tax levies for education insist schools should tighten their belts, as many taxpayers have been forced to do during recent years. But failing to renew the Brooke and Hancock County levies would be much more severe than that. In Brooke County, the special levy raises about $6.1 million a year. In Hancock County, the amount is about $7.1 million. Clearly, loss of that money would be devastating for students who depend on public schools.
Among the most ridiculous claims we have heard from opponents of the levies is that in both counties, unemployment is higher than it was five years ago, when the levies last came up for votes. The implication is that taxpayers cannot afford the levies.
They cannot afford to not give the children of Hancock and Brooke counties educations they will need to get and keep good jobs, either.
We recommend voters in both counties go to the polls Saturday and vote in favor of renewing the school levies.