IN November, the Kanawha County Board of Education presented a measure to request $131 million from the property owners of Kanawha County. This levy would have increased property taxes roughly 25 percent overall.
Information about what exactly the levy would fund was vague to say the least, but the proponents of this levy were eager to point out that these funds were "for the library." However, as the citizens of Kanawha County investigated the levy it was shown to only provide $3 million a year to the public libraries over the next five years. If you believe the proponents of this levy, its purpose was to "keep the libraries open." What then were the plans for the remaining $115 million?
Improving vocational and career education, improving technology and public libraries are worthy causes for funding. However, do we as taxpayers need to be tricked into massive tax increases to do these things?
My answer is absolutely not! The Kanawha County Board of Education attempted to procure an extra $115 million directly out of the taxpayer's pockets. Fortunately, Pete Thaw and others informed us of the planned waste and overspending and the Kanawha County voters showed up to vote and tell the school board their spending is out of control.
These were the events that led up to when Superintendent Ron Duerring decided to rub salt in the wound of those voters. Dr. Duerring took the time, in the Charleston Gazette, to "praise the board for past cost-saving measures - like closing and consolidating 28 schools - and said he wanted to dispel myths about the board's finances."
Yes, he is praising the same board that requested $131 million from Kanawha County property owners just two months ago. He was also quoted as saying, "This board has been so fiscally responsible it's unbelievable, and had all these things not been done, you would've been in a rolling deficit five or six years ago."
Dr. Duerring continues with, "People don't realize we are a business in many ways. We have to keep our people employed; we have to give our kids a good education."
I would like to take the time to tell Dr. Duerring, "Yes sir, you are a business!" And just like any business running at a projected $2 million (Charleston Daily Mail figure from 12/20/2013) to $4.5 million (quote from Board Member Jim Crawford) deficit, it is time for things to change!