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A look at the levy

by Nancy Martin

Committee for Student Success

On November 4, Pocahontas County Schools will ask voters to approve the FIRST special school excess levy for educational needs.

Voting FOR the levy will help Pocahontas County Schools provide predefined spending in the areas of maintenance and safety, instruction, unfunded laws and services.

Our schools were built in a time when air conditioning was not an expectation. Technology consisted of manual typewriters. A wall socket on each wall of a classroom was sufficient for the electrical needs of a teacher. Safety didn’t require locked doors and camera systems to monitor our schools for intruders. Doors and windows could be left open for all to enter, including an occasional visit from wildlife.

Times have changed and our schools are struggling to keep up.

Now our state wants to put a tablet or laptop in the hands of every child.

Where do you charge these learning tools?

Now our state has mandated that we make up all snow days, which could require us to attend school during hot weather. Yet, we don’t have the electrical capacity to install air conditioning in every room. Our original breaker boxes are filled to capacity. Rewiring would be necessary to fix our technology needs, our safety needs, and our buildings.

Pocahontas County High School, which was built in 1970, needs an update to its sewage plant. When the school was built, a spill from this source would have been a problem. Now it is considered an environmental disaster which usually brings in the Environmental Protection Agency. A school system would be charged $7,000 per day until the problem is corrected.

How are we to correct these problems and others without outside funding?

Trips to the School Building Authority for grant moneys are always met with a question about how we could provide matching funds ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars depending on the allocation. You can’t get grant money if you don’t have money. Pocahontas County Schools does not have that kind of reserves as it spends approximately 1.3 million dollars per month to cover basic costs.

The county’s 1,083 students need your help to improve the five county schools. The largest share – 62 percent – of the levy would be devoted to maintenance and safety.

Support Pocahontas County students with your vote FOR the levy on November 4.

One hundred percent of these funds stay in Pocahontas County.

Each year every child spends at least 25 percent of his/her daily hours in Pocahontas County Schools – 50 to 75 percent if involved in extracurricular activities.

The extra levy is an investment for our students.

Education is an investment for our students’ success.

Nancy Martin is Treasurer of the Pocahontas Committee for Student Success and a retired teacher of the Pocahontas County School System.

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