POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Board of Education discussed proposed levy rates and the Coronavirus 2019 on Tuesday evening.
During a special statutory business meeting on Tuesday evening, the board discussed the proposed tax levy rates for next school year with Treasurer Gary Hendricks. In 2018 when the levy was placed on the primary ballot, the estimated revenue from taxes for the school district was $7,501,951. That money went on the fiscal year of 2019-2020, and will end on June 30, 2020. The projected next taxes to be collected, according to the data Hendricks provided from the county assessor, was $7,430,767. Last year, the school system had to make cuts due to a decrease in their budget.
However, the county assessor recently brought the latest projections and the school system has a projected net taxes to be collected as $7,804,514 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021.
Hendricks and the board of education are optimistic about the current projections. Hendricks’ data shows that most real estate and personal property taxes have increase for 2020 since 2019.
In his report to the board, Supt. Jack Cullen said he received guidelines about what to do and how to handle situations if a COVID-19 case appeared in the State of West Virginia or Mason County. Cullen said the virus is changing daily and so will the updates from the state department. Mason County Schools will be creating a plan and be proactive about the virus. Cullen plans to release information in the coming days that includes their plan and steps to decrease the spread of COVID-19 in schools. Cullen said currently students and groups are allowed to travel in state until there is a confirmed case of COVID-19. Groups are not allowed to travel out of state where there are confirmed cases.
The board recognized the Point Pleasant High School Wrestling Team for their recent state championship win. All board members and superintendent expressed how proud they were of their accomplishments and that many younger students look up to them as role models.
The board heard a report from FirstNet cell phone service, which is provided by AT&T. The program was developed as a first responder network. The representative from FirstNet said they work with hospitals, Division of Highways, 9-1-1 centers, sheriff departments and schools. Hendricks said some school buildings have connectivity issues to cell phone service. The representative said they can look into areas that have no service and see what they could do in the future, but their services don’t currently fix those issues. Hendricks also said he thinks FirstNet will assist maintenance workers with completing tasks in a timely manner.
The board approved seeking bids for athletic training contacts for the next school year. Point Pleasant High School currently contacts with Holzer Medical Center and Hannan High School contracts with Pleasant Valley Hospital. Both contracts end in June. The board will be seeking bids for those two schools, but also looking for Wahama in the future. Wahama’s contract with Ohio University will not end until June 2021. Cullen said he would like to combine all three schools with the same contact.
More about the recent school board meeting will appear in upcoming editions of the Point Pleasant Register.
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Kayla Hawthorne is a staff write for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.