The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

February 6, 2013

Tribune Readers’ Views for Thursday, February 7, 2013

Levy: ‘This one is not for the kids’

Fayette County school levy — who benefits most? Not the students!

Will your taxes increase? Yes! Property assessments increase almost every year and with the increase in assessments your tax burden also increases.

This levy has increased by $8,698,485 annually, to $46,356,225 for the next covered period. Of this levy, the last three line items account for almost half of the levy monies — professional salary support, $2,358,000; service employee support, $1,177,000; employee dental/vision insurance, $780,000; textbooks, $823,000

Many taxpayers are now losing their homes because they can’t pay their taxes, especially seniors and low income citizens. Yet these people who do not have this insurance for themselves or their children are being forced into providing it for school and board employees.

Our school system has been taken over by the West Virginia State BOE because of poor evaluation and performances, especially in special education. Our governor and state government have stepped in to try to improve our county. Money is not the answer .

Why are we having a special election for this levy at a cost of approximately $100,000?

It should have been on the last November ballot. Our county school system was afraid it would not pass when the voter turnout was good as it was in the general election. They have posted it for a special election on Feb. 9, 2013.

So, please go out and vote. Public disclosure of the levy has not been offered, so take time to look over the allotments of the funds.

This one is not for the kids.

Gertie Smith


Oak Hill man voting against Fayette levy

We have paid this tax for almost 50 years. We are being asked to approve another $46,356,225 on Feb. 9, 2013.

$21,575,000 is for extra compensation for employees. You may say that you are willing to pay extra taxes for better educators and instruction for our children. If so, you are wrong, because it has not gotten any results so far.

West Virginia is ranked 49th out of 50 states. Even with this dismal report, the state took over our county’s school system. The basis was that Fayette County was ranked 53rd out of 55 counties. In short, our schools are among the worst in the United States.

You may still think that extra taxes will give us better educators and schools. If so, consider this fact. At least 11 counties have no excess school levy. All but one are ranked better than us. Their average ranking is 33 in the state. Some may blame our children, rather than the teachers. If so, consider this. The surrounding counties have an average ranking of 17.5, not our 53 of 55.

Low income children get free meals. The county now wants “free meals” for everyone. They are asking us to pay $3,250,000 for them. Parents, other than those classed as low income, have always paid for them. I can see no reason to change now. I have heard that Oak Hill High School has mold. If the board does not want to lower our taxes, how about using the money to fix this problem.

I encourage everyone to vote. As for me, I will vote “NO” for these extra taxes. I will change my vote only when our children get an average education. I will even accept West Virginia standards — ranking of 28.

William Kettlewell

Oak Hill

Give yourself a raise; vote against levy

As a longtime taxpayer, I oppose the Fayette County Excess School Levy tax.

A lot of tax-bought material presented by tax-paid people encourages voters to support the levy. This material misleads people to get them to vote for the levy.

One very misleading statement is that voting for the levy will not raise your taxes. This is wrong, very wrong. If your property is reassessed at a higher value or you buy a new car, you will pay more levy taxes. Your property improvements will subject you to more levy taxes.

What they don’t explain to folks is that their taxes will drop substantially if the levy is defeated. No kids will starve nor will students receive any less of an education if the levy is voted down.

You will hear “For the Kids” ... nothing could be further from the truth. All have witnessed the fiasco that has taken place over the last several years with the Fayette County Board of Education. We have paid a superintendent a couple of year’s salary to leave.

The State Board of Education took over the county board, put in their own superintendent, yet we kept paying the displaced superintendent’s salary.

Where is all the money saved by doing away with the numerous jobs and expenses associated with the closing of both Mount Hope High and Middle schools?

West Virginia leads the nation in the cost per student spending. Fayette County is clearly failing in all categories. We have tried throwing more money at the problem for years. It has not worked!

Our education system is a cash-gobbling monster with an insatiable appetite. Recent studies indicate that lack of money is not the problem. We pay enough taxes without this excess levy that should be sufficient to provide the children a quality education. Levy money for the education system finds its way into the pockets of politicians and big unions.

In the last couple of years most taxpayers’ salaries and benefits have taken a big hit like mine has. It is time for the education system to realize that the cash cow is getting kind of lean. If you would eliminate the votes of the people who benefit financially from the levy and those who do not pay taxes, this levy would not have a chance. Taxpayers give yourself a big raise and vote against the levy.

Darrell Linksweiler Sr.

Mount Hope

Woman urges support of excess school levy

I write as a resident of Fayette County, as a parent, and as a grandparent of children who attend Fayette County schools. I would like to ask that all in the Fayette County area join me in supporting our children and our communities to vote “Yes” on the Feb. 9 school levy.

An information pamphlet was sent home with your children. Please take the time to educate yourselves as to the ramifications for our children if the levy is not passed. Schools are important to our communities, and our children’s education is vital to our future. Today good jobs depend on having a good education.

Study this issue and join me by voting “Yes.”

Let’s continue to move our county forward.

Thank you for your “Yes” vote.

Velma Newman



Former educator urges support of Fayette County excess school levy

Our public schools are an integral part of our society. The responsibility for the success of our schools rests not only on the shoulders of the teachers and school administrators, but is the responsibility of a whole group of stakeholders: students, parents, grandparents, business leaders, elected officials, and every citizen.

Our family has been blessed to live in Fayette County where the citizens have taken this responsibility seriously for over 50 years by passing an excess levy. Having taught in our county schools, I know first-hand what continuation of the levy means to the classroom. All students receive free textbooks and classroom supplies; have access to and instruction in the latest in technology; and benefit from the reading, music, art, PE, and science/math support. Loss of these levy monies would decimate our school system!

The fact is our school system lost control to the state, but I truly believe that we are on the right track to regain local control. Again, it takes all of us working together toward a common goal of seeing that soon Fayette County is back in control.

Passage of the excess levy takes us one step closer to local control and the support monies do make a tremendous difference in the resources for all students. I plan to vote “FOR” for the continuation of the Fayette County Schools’ excess levy. I would encourage other Fayette County citizens who believe in our public schools and want them to succeed to join me in supporting the continuation of the excess levy on Feb. 9th.

Vote FOR our school levy.

Marion Tanner