The Monongalia County Board of Education issued a statement Thursday in response to concerns raised by a Monongalia County Commissioner, Tom Bloom.
Bloom is questioning the tax money collected by the board and the surplus money that goes to the State Board of Education instead of staying in the county.
Monongalia County School Superintendent Dr. Frank Devono said the purpose of the statement is to clarify the means by which revenue is derived from Monongalia County's current expense regular levy and those derived from the county's excess level, which is managed by the county's board of education.
Devono said West Virginia law indicates 90 percent of revenue generated by every West Virginia county's regular (property tax) levy is combined and divided among the state's 55 county school districts according to a complex system generally referred to as the "state aid formula." Each county's regular levy rate, the tax rate paid on all personal and real property, is set annually by the West Virginia Legislature. Local boards of education in West Virginia do not determine counties' regular levy rates, said Devono.
"While crafting the 2012-2017 levy call, the Monongalia County Board of Education elected to renew the county's previous excess levy rate which was 75% of the maximum 100% rate permitted by state code. The Monongalia County BOE included a percentage-based cap on annual excess levy revenue increases. This cap allows for annual reductions of the excess levy rate if excess levy revenues are projected at 104% of the previous year's tax revenue derived from assessments of existing property. With projections indicating excess levy revenues on existing property would exceed 104% of the current years projected revenue for fiscal year 2014-2015, the Board of Education at its April 15, 2014 meeting approved a 1% reduction of its excess levy rate for the coming year, thus reducing its excess levy revenue to comply with the 104% cap detailed in the excess levy call. With the 2014-2015 excess levy rate set at 74%, the Monongalia County Schools will realize a projected $25,853,819 million in excess levy revenues on existing property in the coming fiscal year and $1,068,485 on new property and improvements," said Devono in the release.
A Monongalia County commissioner is calling for an investigation into the Board of Education's finances.
Commissioner Tom Bloom is questioning the tax money collected by the board and the surplus money that goes to the State Board of Education instead of staying in the county.
"We are paying expenditures outside the county through the local levies, which could be used locally," Bloom said.
We're working to get more information on this from the board of education and tax officials.