While the current excess levy won’t expire until 2014, Wyoming County Superintendent of Schools says it is not too early to begin discussions of what the next evy will fund.
“Even though it’s a year and a half away, you want to make sure it gets renewed as soon as possible,” Blackwell commented. “Some time next fall, we will probably go ahead and have an election to renew the school levy.”
The levy pays for textbooks, work books and e-books and other electronic information, he explained.
School board members received a copy of the current levy at last week’s BOE meeting.
“We need to start talking about it and what we want to put in it,” Blackwell said.
In light of the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., a few weeks ago, he expects money for security to be an addition to the levy.
“Money for additional security (will probably be included),” he indicated. “That is a very important issue to everybody, and we’ll want to discuss what in the line of security we want to do.
“There may be money coming from the state or federal government that would help,” he added.
Board members were given a list of possible ideas to consider “just to start the discussions,” Blackwell commented.
Faculty Senates, county administrators, principals and service personnel will also be given forms where they can make suggestions for improved security.
“We’ve already had several things turned in, and we’ll look at the (suggestions) and determine our No. 1 issue, No. 2 issue and so on.
“It’s one of the worst worries we have,” Blackwell said. “We don’t want some of the things that have happened in other places to happen here.”
Improving door security is one priority. Blackwell noted that doors designed with bars would prevent an intruder from simply shooting out a glass door and walking in.
“We have to do things that will slow them down,” he said. “By the time he gets through a front door and a second door, there may have been time to stop him or to have lockdown and get everyone to safety.
If the principal of the Newtown school “had had time to react, she may have been able to save her own life,” Blackwell explained.
In addition to textbooks and other school items, the levy provides some funds for the Wyoming County 4-H, the Health Department and the public libraries.
“There are some things on the levy we might reduce and some we might add money to,” remarked Blackwell. “We want to have a levy that the voters will support.”
Wyoming County voters have backed the levy since 1933. “We’re fortunate to have citizens who go to the polls and vote for it,” said Blackwell.
Also: The basic design for the new Huff Consolidated is mostly complete and will be submitted soon to the School Building Authority.
The BOE will be contacting the Commissioner of Highways and the railroad about getting help for a good design on the school’s entrance and exit area.
Blackwell said some bids may be let in March.
Construction is continuing on the new Pineville Elementary.
“They’re putting up steel and it’s really starting to shape up,” said Blackwell. “Right now they’re 15 to 18 days behind schedule, but they feel like they can make up some of those days by working longer on good weather days and working on Saturdays.”
School officials will be meeting with legislators to discuss getting help on some projects.
The next BOE meeting is Jan. 17 at 10 a.m. at the Central Office.