"It's a reality check," said board member Robin Rector. "We've got to find the money somewhere . . . or I don't know how to avoid making cuts that impact students."
Thaw argues that cuts can be made that won't negatively affect the county's schoolchildren — a notion that is roundly resisted by his fellow board members and administrators in the school system.
"If money could improve the education system we would be number one in the country," Thaw said. "We're not and it is not. Money doesn't solve anything; money just inflates bureaucracy and brings about no improvement in education for the children."
If the levy fails, Bill Raglin sees Kanawha County following suit after cash-strapped school systems across the country that have begun asking students to pay for extracurricular activities.
"We'll have to make cuts in some areas, and we'll obviously start in areas that are not in the classroom," he said. "But these things are important to students."
The school system's levy request also includes a sizable allocation for technology improvements, adult education and improvements to the county's vocational education facilities.
There's also the county's library system, which would collect 5 percent of the tax — a compromise agreed upon by the two public entities after the state Supreme Court ruled that the law forcing the school system to fund the public library was unconstitutional, leaving the library in financial straits.
If approved, the new levy would raise $3 million for the library in the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Contact writer Shay Maunz at shay.ma...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4886.