I am writing this letter to the voting public of Mingo County, W.Va. This Sat-urday, January 17, 2009, Mingo County will hold a special election to give the public the opportunity to vote for or against the Mingo County School Excess Levy. I urge the voting public to go to their poling places and vote for this levy.
This is an opportunity for the voters to make a real impact on the future of Mingo County’s greatest natural resource, our children. By voting for the levy, we can make an investment in our children’s future by helping them have the textbooks, computers and equipment that will allow them to enjoy the same educational resources that children from more affluent urban areas of our state have. Also, Mingo County will have the resources to hire more and better teachers by being able to offer competitive salaries.
I have spoken with state education officials who have been in counties where school excess levies have not passed, and the results are grim. Athletic and extracurricular activities and vocational programs have to be slashed. Schools are forced to continue using out-dated equipment and dilapidated textbooks. Classes become larger and more impersonal because fewer teachers can be hired to teach the same number of students. This is something we must avoid here in Mingo County.
Opponents to the levy may try to appeal to your pocketbooks in order to convince you to vote against the levy. They will tell you that you will save money by voting against it, which is not entirely true. If the levy passes, no one’s property tax will raise at all. If it doesn’t pass, the typical home owner’s taxes will lower - by no more than five to ten dollars. So for the price of a box or two of Girl Scout cookies (and seriously, who doesn’t like a box of Sarno as? Yummy!), you can invest in Mingo County’s future in a real and positive way.
I hope that the voters of Mingo County will at least consider the ideas I have presented here. We have the chance to help our children move further into the 21st century by voting for the School Excess Levy. The students of Mingo County deserve the best books, equipment and teachers that we can provide. By voting for the levy, we can make this possible.
Stephen M. Baisden