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Hancock Co. excess levy up for renewal

Updated: Friday, November 8 2013, 04:21 PM EST

By Jennifer Black


School leaders are looking to debunk rumors surrounding the excess levy on the ballot for Saturday’s special election in Hancock County.

Superintendent Sue Smith said voters need to know that the money will not be used for the ongoing construction of Weirton Elementary School slated for next school year.

“In 2010, we had a bond call, and that was passed in order to make upgrades to all of our schools.  The funding is there for that, and it has nothing to do with the operating levy," Smith said.

The operating levy up for a vote Saturday has been renewed repeatedly since it was first approved in 1949. The excess levy generates $7.1 million toward the district's $43 million budget.

“To take over $7 million out of a $43 million budget, it would be catastrophic in order to make those cuts,” Smith said.

If passed, the levy funds will be used for instructional materials like supplemental books, computers and Smart Boards.  The money would also used to support extracurricular activities including music, theater and athletics.

Levy funds will also help support autism programs, homebound services, occupational and physical therapy and services for the hearing and speech impaired.

One new thing the levy funds would help provide is putting public resource officers in the school district's elementary schools.

"They currently have them in our middle schools and our high schools, so it would certainly help with the safety and security of our children,” Smith said.  “It is not going to be any increase in taxes, because we have been able to change some funding around in the operating levy itself in order to include the cost of the resource officers.”

Smith said members of the community are questioning whether the new Weirton Elementary School is big enough, but Smith said the 100,000-square-foot facility was built for 950 students.

“If we were to move today the students from Broadview, Liberty and Weirton Heights, we would have 905 students, so there is plenty of room,” Smith said.  “There's even plenty of room for expansion.”

Polls are open Saturday in Hancock County from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and results will come down later Saturday night.

Stay with NEWS9 for election results.

Hancock Co. excess levy up for renewal

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