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Excess Levy Q&A: With Steven Bieniek and Dr. Kim Miller

Excess+Levy+Q%26A%3A+With+Steven+Bieniek+and+Dr.+Kim+Miller

Q: What is the excess levy for those who may not know?

 

A: The excess levy is a levy that comes from local taxpayers that comes into the board of education. It gives excess tax dollars to the Board of Education and is voted on every 4 years. 

 

Q: Where is the money from the excess levy going to?

 

A: The estimated value is about 24 million dollars. That money is spread through all Ohio county schools. Instructional material equipment and services, maintenance, and operation of the schools, salary, and benefits for employees, support agency, transportation, school resource officers, safety equipment, cameras, phones, communication devices, and security.

 

Q: Has a levy rate been decided on or approved yet?

 

A: The Board of Education approved a levy rate this morning, but it is for the last levy. The new levy that will be voted on by the public will have the rate set every year starting in the fiscal year 2026 by the BOE.

 

Q: Why in the fiscal year of 2026 will the board be setting the amount and will the citizens of Wheeling still be able to vote on it after that?

 

A: When citizens vote on the excess levy, they approve the levy for four fiscal years at a maximum rate to be taxed. Every year, the Board of Education can vote to use the maximum amount voted on, or reduce that amount. For the last several years, the Board of Education has voted to reduce the excess levy tax to 95.5% of the maximum allowable rate. Meaning Ohio County residents pay 95.5% of the amount they voted on, a 4.5% reduction.

 

Q: Will this affect funding that comes from the state?

 

A: No, this would not affect funding coming from the state.

 

Q: What kind of gain could we see from the levy?

 

A: We are in a competitive market now with the private and parochial schools and Ohio and Pennsylvania being very close, but we have to put our best foot forward to have the best programs, facilities, and transportation for students.

 

Q: Have we struggled with competition from other schools in the past and how has the levy alleviated that? 

 

A: We do have competition, especially in the valley. Private, parochial, homeschool, charter schools, the State of Ohio and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are all competitors. The reason they are competitors is because if enrollment drops, we receive less State Aid funding. It is important to retain and even gain students if possible. The excess levy helps because it gives the BOE funds to offer students opportunities that they may not have in other schools. It also helps us retain highly qualified staff.

 

Q: How have we seen benefits from the excess levy in the past?

 

A: It has helped us maintain facilities and maintenance. It also allows us to have competitive pay for all employees. We are able to offer pay and benefits above the state minimum. 

 

Q: Could you expand more on the benefits this gives to teachers?

 

A: The excess levy helps to provide many extra benefits for all staff. Included is an attendance incentive for staff that meet certain criteria and affordable dental/vision insurance for both current and retired employees and their families. Beyond that, the excess levy helps pay for staff members over what State Aid Funding supplies funds for and the extra salary provided above the state minimum salary for each position.

 

Q: Do you think it is important that young voters get involved in voting on this levy?

 

A: I think it is important for young voters to educate themselves and vote on the levy. It is also important for young voters to educate themselves and vote for everything that is on the ballot.  Young voters are shaping the future of our country, and they need to make sure they are taking in all the information to make the most informed decisions possible.  

 

Q: What would you say to encourage a new voter to vote on the Excess Levy?

 

A: It is important that we are able to sustain our programs and our educators. We want to be able to continue to offer our robust programs. We want to continue those programs and expand upon them and have a resource officer in each of our schools. If we have great public schools it will make people want to move here. 

 

Q: When is the vote of the excess levy?

 

A: The excess levy will be on the ballot on May 14th.

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Alice Joseph
Alice Joseph, Staff Writer
  • Journalism I
  • Senior
  • Captain on the Speech and Debate Team, Young Patriots, and Park Players
  • "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future." -John F. Kennedy
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