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Lower Marshall Levy Rate Is Considered

School officials also want to end calendar experiment

December 4, 2013
By SARAH HARMON - Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

MOUNDSVILLE - The Marshall County Board of Education is considering lowering the district's excess levy rate from 98 percent to 94 percent for the 2014-15 school year, officials announced Tuesday.

During a two-hour workshop, officials said lowering the levy rate would be possible, noting they expect county property values to increase when the Marshall County Assessor releases the county's figures in March.

"Everything is leaning toward property values going up, but we don't want to lower it too much because the state might cut funding by about 7.5 percent," Superintendent Michael Hince said. "We're looking at it again, but we want to be conservative."

Article Photos

Photo by Sarah Harmon
Marshall County Board of Education member Beth Phillips makes a point at Tuesday’s workshop while board member Tom Gilbert listens.

Hince cited the John Marshall High School project, salary increases and paying off the bond levy for the Cameron High School project of reasons the board wants to be careful not lower the rate dramatically.

"It has to be a significant decrease, but it also has to be realistic within our parameters," board member John Miller added. "Our construction is still ongoing and we will see state cuts."

The board is scheduled to present a proclamation on the matter at its next meeting Dec. 10.

Officials also announced they would like to put the county on a unified calendar for the 2014-15 school year, responding to complaints from parents and faculty who were unhappy with Cameron's separate modified schedule, which has students starting earlier in the year than other schools in the county and allows for several additional breaks throughout the year.

"It's not so much the modified calendar in Cameron that was the issue, but that there wasn't a county-wide calendar," Hince said. "Everyone seems to be in agreement we need just one calendar."

Hince said new state standards will allow the county to decide when they start the school year. He said he would like to see the county completing the first semester before the holiday break next year, which would have all students starting in early August and would eliminate the semester ending about 15 days into January. Hince suggested presenting a "working calendar" to each school, which will have a designated faculty committee review the calendar and provide feedback before the board submits the calendar to the state in May.

Under personnel matters, Assistant Superintendent Corey Murphy said the county will be interviewing four candidates in the next week for a math teacher position at Cameron High School, which has been vacant since the beginning of the semester. Officials previously cited difficulty finding a qualified candidate for the position as the reason behind the vacancy.

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