During the regular meeting of the Greenbrier County Board of Education on Tuesday, Oct. 11, board members unanimously approved a resolution in opposition to Amendment 2, the Property Tax Modernization Amendment. The amendment is one of four amendments to the West Virginia Constitution on the upcoming election ballot.
“Voter approval of Amendment 2 would be detrimental to our Public School system and ultimately impact our capacity to maintain the current level of educational programming and critical support services, “stated Superintendent Jeff Bryant.
“As set forth in the Resolution, this is not a political issue but an operation and safety issue that directly affects our ability to provide a safe, thorough and efficient system of free schools,” Bryant continued.
The resolution signed by Greenbrier County Board of Education members states the following:
During the 2022 General Election, West Virginians will be asked to vote on Amendment 2, which would bring substantial changes to West Virginia’s Constitution. It is not the place of the Greenbrier County Board of Education (GCBOE) to tell registered voters how to vote on this issue. However, the GCBOE has a duty, pursuant to Article XII, Sections 1-3, and §18-5-1, of the West Virginia Code to supervise and control the operation of each county school district and maintain a thorough and efficient system of free schools. Therefore, GCBOE believes it crucial to inform the public of the impact that Amendment 2 could have on the public education system in Greenbrier County.
WHEREAS, the passage of Amendment 2 would give the state legislature the ability to exempt the personal property tax for most businesses and an individual’s personal property tax on vehicles; and,
WHEREAS, the Greenbrier County Board of Education relies greatly on personal property taxes, which provide critical funding for our schools, as well as entities that support the safety of our schools, such as law enforcement, fire protection, emergency medical services, and;
WHEREAS, the Greenbrier County Board of Education finds that more than five hundred million dollars in necessary funding for schools in all 55 counties, first responders, and county and city services will be placed at risk and could be stripped away, resulting in fewer teachers and school service personnel, police officers, firefighters, and emergency responders; and,
WHEREAS, the Greenbrier County Board of Education finds that according to WV State Tax Department figures, two-thirds of property tax revenue funds K-12 education; and,
WHEREAS, the Greenbrier County Board of Education finds that the passage of Amendment 2 could specifically result in the loss of up to $2.8 million in funding for the GCBOE that would affect both the GCBOE’s general budget along with current and future excess levy revenues, resulting in the removal of educational projects and services; and,
WHEREAS, even with our current funding, the GCBOE, along with every other county in the State of West Virginia, is already suffering from a shortage of teachers and service personnel; has some of the lowest-paid teachers in the country, second only to Mississippi; and does not have the funding to provide employees with comparable salaries of other surrounding states; and,
WHEREAS, the Greenbrier County Board of Education finds there is no public legislative plan for what the legislature intends to do if Amendment 2 is passed, thus, there is no consensus, no agreement, and no state objectives that voters can read to understand the intended impact of Amendment 2 on the educational system and other essential county and city services before they cast their vote.
NOW, THEREFORE be it resolved, the Greenbrier County Board of Education, finds that this is not a political issue, but an operation and safety issue that directly affects our ability to provide a safe, thorough, and efficient system of free schools, thus, the Greenbrier County Board of Education cannot offer support for Amendment 2.
School Board President Jeanie Wyatt stated, “This is a statewide ballot measure that will impact school systems in all 55 counties. It is important for the voters of Greenbrier County to know that our board opposes Amendment 2.”