Article by: Jim Bissett, The Dominion Post
Early voting begins today for the excess levy election for Monongalia County schools.
Ballots may be cast from 9 a.m-5 p.m. through Sept. 22 at Mon’s Election Center in the Mountaineer Mall, County Clerk Carye Blaney said.
The center will be open Monday through Saturday during those early voting hours, she said.
“We want to make it convenient for people,” the clerk said.
After that comes Sept. 25, the actual day of the special election, she said.
Precincts then will open across the county will be 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. that day.
Visit https://www.monongaliacountyclerk.com for additional information on voting by absentee ballot.
Blaney, meanwhile, said she hopes there are enough poll workers to handle the election.
COVID concerns, plus the fact that it’s a special election on a Saturday haven’t made for a landslide of response yet, Blaney said.
“It’s a challenge this year,” she said.
“We understand that it’s a special election on a weekend and that people make plans. And we have gotten cancellations.”
After a required training session, poll workers can earn $255, she said.
If you’re interested, call 304-291-7230, she said.
There’s also a prompt for an after-hours extension, she added.
“We appreciate anyone who wants to come out and work an election,” she said.
In Monongalia County, it’s a tradition for people to come out and vote yes for the levy, which funds a host of supplemental programs and other extras for the district.
For 48 years, the levy has sailed through — and generally on the landslide scale.
Good thing, Mon Board of Education President Nancy Walker said earlier. The levy does a lot of heavy lifting for the district.
Especially during the past several months of the pandemic, Walker said.
The president allowed Mon’s school district has fared better than a lot of others across the state during the pandemic, precisely because of the excess levy dollars doled out.
“It’s part of the reason we were a little bit ahead,” she said, as districts hunkered down following Gov. Jim Justice’s call to shutter schools March 13, 2020.
The new document, district treasurer Nicole Kemper said, is projected to bring nearly $32 million in school coffers.
However, the recent closure of the Mylan/Viatris facility might make some dollars a little dicey, Kemper said.
In the meantime, a total of $1.5 million will be pledged to the instructional materials line item, the treasurer said, with that same amount earmarked for student services, including counseling and other health and well-being measures.
Look for $1.25 million apiece to go to technology services and extracurricular activities.
Music, art and drama programming will benefit from a $250,000 outlay, with $145,000 set aside for science and math supplies.
The county Technical Education Center on Mississippi Street will take in $100,000 for its community education efforts.
Employees will be lifted up by a $17 million outlay funding long-term disability insurance and dental and vision benefits.
Walker said the “excess” in the excess levy isn’t a good word.
That’s because so many programs are enhanced and made possible, even, each time voters send it through for another five-year cycle, she said.
“Those dollars make all the difference.”