CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Voters in 2 West Virginia counties will vote Saturday on school excess levies. Polls are set to open at 6:30 a.m. in both Hancock and Kanawha counties.

The issue has been controversial in Kanawha County.

“If they pass the levy and fund the library and the school system then we’ll do what we said we would do with the money,” said Kanawha County School Board Member Jim Crawford. “If not, we will have to do what we have to do to run the system and keep it in the black.”

The majority of school board members would like to see the passage of the levy which would essentially take the cap off the current 65 percent excess levy and provide $3 million a year will the Kanawha County Library System.

The most outspoken opponent in Kanawha County has been school board president Pete Thaw.

“Number 1, it’s too large; number 2 they have never outlined to the people of Kanawha County what it’s for and number 3 they don’t have any direction,” Thaw said.

If approved the excess levy would generate $24 million for the school system in it’s first year, and then go up $1 million each year for the next 5 years.

“This is a very large and very serious expenditure of public money,” said Thaw. “Probably the biggest any of us has seen.”

Hancock County voters are being asked to approve a 5-year excess levy that provides about $7 million in additional tax revenues for the school system. The excess levy has been on the books in the state’s most northern county since 1949.

County officials said a Hancock County resident who owns a house worth about $75,000 would pay an additional $206 in taxes a year. The excess levy got 66 percent of the vote in 2008.

Back in Kanawha County, school board member Crawford said Saturday’s results may be too close to call.

There are pros and cons, a lot of people of for it and a lot of people are against it. It’s going to be a close race,” he predicted.

Under the new levy, which is in addition to the capped levy that goes into effect next year, the property tax rate in Kanawha County could be raised to the full amount allowed by law, a 100 percent rate.

Board member William Raglin said a lot of unforeseen costs have come up since the passage of the capped levy which renders the need for another levy.

“The cap on the levy that we passed previously didn’t allow for inflation or to provide things that we were not aware that we would be shorted on because of some changes at the federal level,” he said.

However, Thaw argues the school system could run fine without the extra money.

“We can always do with what we have,” he said. “We have in the past and we will in the future.”

Only about 3 percent of Kanawha County’s registered voters cast ballots in the early voting period. Hancock County reported a better-than-expected early voter turnout.

Polls will close in both counties at 7:30 Saturday night.

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  • Engineer

    WOW, we have a bunch of sour English teachers on here do we? I bet you self righteous village idiots could not understand differential equations or probability theory. So get off the FORMAL English usage rules already. I am a WV employed engineer with a WV (Kanawha county) education including college, and I will tell you 100% that my employer doesn't care if I end a sentence with a preposition in informal communication (which is EXACTLY what this forum is.) When you can mathematically explain what the transient current it's on an inductor, then you may current my English, until then, SHUT YOUR PIEHOLE.

    • Engineer

      Great, have the unemployed English teachers extra fuel, due to autocorrect on my phone.

  • WriterMama

    I hope you don't teach English, Mr. Parsons.

  • Kis99

    Huh. Same ol' people saying the same tired crap. when Pete Thaw wants something, you should first ask yourself: what does he get out of it. Cause a man who earned 65,000.00 a year of tax payer money by testing dog urine at the dog track is out to help himself freely at the trough.

  • wvtd

    no! we are being taxed way to much by people who waste our hard earned money. show us better results with the students education before you steal more money from us. we are being taxed like never before and it is time to make our stand against this government waste, fraud and abuse. make a lotto ticket for the library as it is a tax on stupidity and players do not mind paying it. let the dog track / casino pay for it, any one but the people who still have jobs and struggle to make ends meet. we are taxed to the breaking point.

    • Kis99

      If you had troubled to partake of an education yourself, you would have learned to capitalize your sentences. Also you might have learned the proper use of punctuation. And if you had continued to educate yourself, you would have learned to think about a subject before commenting on it. The more ignorant the populace is, the easier it is to manipulate and rip off. Bet your last dime that this is the motivation behind all of Mr. Thaw's actions.

  • Richard Parsons

    It's sad to say but I will be voting no for the levee in Kanawha County and I'm a teacher in the county. Our BOE is one of the most poorly run in the state. If our county is in such need of money then I say start at the top. Cut some of those jobs downtown or cut the pay downtown. We have way to many people working downtown and not doing their job. Wake up Kanawha County, it's your fault we are where were at.

    • Firepit101

      It's a shame that a teacher would end a sentence with a preposition. Pitiful.

  • Fed Up

    Isn't it true that the Kan. Co. school system has more office personnel per student ratio than any other county in the state. Enough said.....

  • steve in cross lanes

    If I remember correctly, the BOE pulled funding to the librarys and that's why they need money -to stay open. So, I ask, why is the school system needing more money? The BOE wasnt there to support the library system, but they sure are there to take money using their circumstance to take advantage of people who care about the library system, which they put them in, to get more money. I normally support anything that betters education, but not this time. How about the BOE take a pay cut and stop wasteful spending? Novel idea, I know.

  • lifetimehunter

    The whole issue is a joke the state says: pay more taxes or we will give your taxes already paid to another county. Then they will take over your schools to fix problems they created.

  • gv

    In some parts of the state the unfortunate thing is that they build these huge impressive new schools but when the students leave they cannot spell or do simple math.

  • Wirerowe

    Vote no .asking for $24 million . Need $3 million for library and $4 million to fill a hole at the boar of education and the rest to party party. Too much for no reason when people are hurting. Vote no.

  • Vote NO

    This is a rare opportunity to say I WILL NOT LET YOU RAISE MY TAXES.

    Government wastes and wastes and wastes. Then wants the taxpayers to pay for it. We have had enough!!

    Cut out the waste and you won't need to bleed the taxpayers.


  • MoMoney

    Say NO to additional taxes. The liberals waste too much of it as it is now.

    • wvu999

      Was this true before Obama?
      He seems to the the root of all evil.