At its regular meeting on Thursday, October 6, 2022, the Roane County Board of Education adopted a resolution expressing the Board's lack of support for "Amendment 2," also known as the Property Tax Modernization Amendment.
West Virginia voters will consider whether or not to approve the amendment on the November 2022 general election ballot.
The text of the resolution is below:
"During the 2022 General Election, West Virginians will be asked to vote on Amendment 2, which would bring substantial changes to West Virginia's Constitution. It is not the place of the Roane County Board of Education (RCBOE) to tell registered voters how to vote on this issue. However, the RCBOE has a duty, pursuant to Article XII, Sections 1-3, and § 18-5-1, of the West Virginia State Code to supervise and control the operation of each county school district and maintain a thorough and efficient system of free schools. Therefore, RCBOE believes it crucial to inform the public of the impact that Amendment 2 could have on the public education system in Roane County:
WHEREAS, the passage of Amendment 2 would give the state legislature the ability to exempt the personal property tax for most businesses and an individual's personal property tax on vehicles; and,
WHEREAS, the Roane County Board of Education relies greatly on personal property taxes, which provide critical funding for our schools, as well as entities that support the safety of our schools, such as law enforcement, fire protection, emergency medical services, and,
WHEREAS, the Roane County Board of Education finds there is no ratified, public legislative plan for what the legislature intends to do if Amendment 2 is passed, and, as such, there is no consensus, no agreement, and are no stated objectives that voters can read to understand the intended impact of the passage of Amendment 2 on the educational system and other essential county and city services before they cast their vote; and,
WHEREAS, the Roane County Board of Education finds that the passage of Amendment 2 will result in the loss of constitutionally secured revenue sources and will grant to the legislature, in perpetuity, new authority to amend school district budgets, as well as the budgets of other entities that support the safety of our schools. Should the legislature choose to exercise this new authority by reducing school district funding now or in the future, county public school district general budgets along with current and future excess levy revenues could be negatively impacted, resulting in the removal of educational projects and services; and,
WHEREAS, the Roane County Board of Education finds that more than five hundred million dollars in necessary funding for schools in all 55 counties, first responders, and county and city services will be placed at risk and could be stripped away, resulting in fewer teachers and school service personnel, police officers, firefighters, and emergency responders; and,
WHEREAS, the Roane County Board of Education finds that the passage of Amendment 2 could specifically result in loss of funding for the RCBOE that would affect both the RCBOE's general budget along with future excess levy revenues, resulting in the removal of educational projects and services; and,
WHEREAS, even with our current funding, the RCBOE, along with every other county in the state of West Virginia is already suffering from a shortage of teachers and service personnel; has some of the lowest paid teachers in the country, second only to Mississippi; and does not have the funding to provide employees with comparable salaries of other surrounding states; and,
NOW, THEREFORE be it resolved the Roane County Board of Education, finds that this is not a political issue, but an operation and safety issue that directly affects our ability to provide a safe thorough and efficient system of free schools, thus, the Roane County Board of Education cannot offer support for Amendment 2."