By Adam Pack
The Greenbrier County Board of Education heard about positive developments from Chief School Business Officer David McClure regarding levy rates at their latest meeting. In his request for adoption of the schedule of proposed levy rates for fiscal year 2024, McClure informed the board that “as a result of the increase in the assessments [by the state auditor’s office] as well as the reserve that’s been building, in fiscal year 2024 the bond will pay off completely for the Board of Education.” This news brings with it some welcome windfalls, as McClure went on to explain that, “[The paying off of that bond] will eliminate that debt for the citizens, and together with the increased assessments and the aforementioned reserves being built up, the levy rate for the bonds in the last year reduced substantially. Therefore, I’m happy to be able to report that all citizens across the county will see a reduction in prop taxes that go to support public education. [Reductions in public education taxes] have been consistent since 2017, and will drop significantly in 2024, and those rates will drop again in 2025 as the bond will be paid off.”
McClure explained that the fiscal health of the board can be partly explained by the contribution of White Sulphur Springs’ recent growth leading to an improved assessment for the district. The new levy rates will be published for comment and review by the public prior to a special financial meeting of the board, where they will be brought up for final approval.
Board President Jeanie Wyatt remarked, upon approving the schedule of proposed levy rates, that, “This is so amazing to me. I was on the board when we did the ‘mega-bond’ and just seemed like it would be eternity before we would pay it off and that’s it. We’re here. We had never run a bond to that extent, and it was a major undertaking due to the economy at the time, but the people of the county came forth and helped us, and here we are today ready to pay us off.” This bond was originally procured to help secure funding for the operation and/or work to Greenbrier West High School, Rainelle Elementary, Lewisburg Elementary, an auxiliary gym at Eastern Greenbrier Middle, and Smoot Elementary.
In sports news, the board also heard McClure’s request for the approval of Field Turf USA’s proposal for turf replacement and track repairs at Greenbrier East High School and turf installation and track repairs at Greenbrier West High School. McClure described these repairs and installations as “sorely needed,” and that “a great deal of research has been done, due diligence has been done by everyone involved, and Field Turf is the best option,” due to “estimates coming in lower than was initially recorded.” As a result, both schools will have turf fields and new tracks.
The board also approved the 2023-24 School Calendar, as well as the Mid-Term/Nine Weeks Dates, and the Universal Pre-K Calendar. The 2023-24 Mid-Term/Nine Weeks Dates read as follows:
Grades 1-12 start date Aug. 28
K start date Sept. 5; PK start date Sept. 7
1st mid-term: Sept. 26
1st 9 week ends: Oct. 26
2nd mid-term: Dec. 7
1st semester ends: Jan. 18
3rd mid-term: Feb. 23
3rd 9 week ends: Mar. 21
4th mid-term: May 2
2nd semester ends: June 5
Faculty Senate dates:
Aug. 21: no students
Oct. 9: PL day – no students
Dec. 21: two-hour early release
Feb. 19: PL day – no students
Apr. 25: two-hour early release
June 5: two-hour early release
Additional PL days: Aug. 22 and 23; and Apr. 2
The board was also pleased to officially declare March as Greenbrier County School’s “Music in Schools Month.” In a declaration drafted for the occasion, the board stated that March “from henceforth be Music in Schools month in Greenbrier County Schools.” Superintendent Jeff Bryant was happy to remind the public that Greenbrier County has music specialists in every school in the county, “which is not the average or normal for this state or even the country.” As such he and the board would like to encourage the public to show appreciation to music educators every day, but especially this month.
The Board had a large portion of their meeting dedicated to Time Out for Applause for several groups of county students. However, due to the cancellation of school for inclement weather, students were not encouraged to attend and will instead be honored at a ceremony prior to next month’s Board of Education meeting. Due to the sheer number of students to be recognized, next month’s regular meeting of the board will be held at the auditorium at Eastern Greenbrier Middle School on Tuesday, Apr. 11, at 6 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.
Interested parties should call 304-647-6470 to confirm meeting time and date prior, as they are subject to change.
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