Early voting continues for Berkeley County Schools levy, superintendent answers questions

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County School System could see its budget reduced by 15 percent if the excess levy is not passed by voters this month.

Among the items funded by the levy is extra money for salary supplements for personnel to the tune of $18.6 million. The funds also support outside agencies.

“What I’ve been hearing is a pretty positive response and also a recognition not only of schools, but of Parks and Recreation, of our libraries, of our health services, and 4-H; that people generally are pretty supportive and they recognize that it’s not only an investment in schools, but across schools, Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy said.

It’s not a new fee, but instead a continuation of the excess levy, which would generate $31.6 million annually for the next five years.

“It is just not the schools, and the fact that the schools are growing. And by the way, it sends a positive message,” Murphy said. “Why are some of the larger corporations and businesses coming here to this area? Why do they see they want to move their families here? Why do they ask the question ‘If I’m going to move my company here, what does it look like for the eligibility of a workforce?'”

Early voting is underway at 400 West Stephen Street at the new location of the Berkeley County Voter Registration Office through November 13th excluding Sundays and Veterans Day. On November 16th, residents can vote at their regular precincts.

“I think it sends a powerful message about how important it is to invest in our community and have these services available across all sectors,” Murphy added.

Among the items funded by the levy is extra money for salary supplements for personnel to the tune of $18.6 million.

If passed, close to $6 million would also be put toward additional staffing and equipment. $3.5 million would be used for additional instructional materials, another 3.2 million dollars for facility maintenance.

Outside agencies receive funding from the levy, as well, including $112,500.00 each for both the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library and the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation Department. The levy also allocates some funding for 4-H programs and the Berkeley County Health Department: $28,500.00.

Marsh Chwalik/Panhandle News Network