By Adam Pack
The Greenbrier County School Board held a public forum on Monday, Sept. 27, to inform citizens of the facts and figures pertaining to the upcoming school levy. This comes after a similar presentation at Greenbrier West Middle School earlier in the month. The presentation outlines some basic fiscal and educational facts about Greenbrier County, the breakdown of sums associated with the levy and their use, and the board’s argument as to the necessity of the levy.
According to the presentation, Greenbrier County is the second largest school district in West Virginia geographically and the sixteenth largest based on enrollment. The county provides free meals to all students, and noted that they have served 1.1 million meals in 2021-22. The board also made mention of the load on the county school bus system, a fleet which drives a distance equivalent to nearly 75 percent of the way across the country every day. This was mentioned alongside the various programs provided by the school system in the county.
A levy, meanwhile, is different from a bond, as bonds are used solely for the building of new schools or facilities or to major renovations or repairs to schools and or facilities. According to the presentation, “The school excess levy is a tax placed on property to directly fund education programs and services critical to the operation of Greenbrier County Schools, including school safety and security services and equipment, the continuation of art and music programs, school allotments and supplies, and more.”
This year’s annual levy amount totals $8,326,267. That amount is then subdivided as follows:
- $1 million: School safety and security
- $1 million: Instructional Materials, Technology & Related Resources
- $350,000: continuation of art & music programs available to all students
- $900,000: School Allotments & Supplies Including Lab Supplies
- $2,776,267: Capital Improvements to school facilities including building repair and maintenance and utilities
- $2.3 million: Employment of necessary personnel outside the school aid formula to meet student needs and maintain employee benefits
The board feels that these funds and their use can further their goal of providing quality education to Greenbrier County Students. The board also stated that this is not a “new” tax, but rather, “Greenbrier County has supported the special school excess levy since 1974, renewing the measure every five years. The current levy expires in June 2024. The levy on the November 8 ballot will continue the expiring levy with a 10% increase in funding for the next five years.” Levies are paid annually.
The amount individuals will pay annually towards the levy is based on the valuation of their home. The valuation in cents per $100 of assessed valuation on each class of property is $13.77 for Class I, $27.54 for Class II, $55.08 for Class III, and 55.08 for Class IV. Personal property will be taxed at the Class III rate. For Residential Real Property this translates to:
- Property Valued at $50,000: $82.62
- Property Valued at $100,000: $165.24
- Property Valued at $150,000: $247.86
- Property Valued at $200,000: $330.18
A full breakdown of the levy cost on residential real property, as well as on homestead exemption with real property and commercial property can be found at www.greenbriercountyschools.com. Simply go to the “Site Menu” tab and then click “School Levy” at the bottom right hand corner of the drop down menu.