Boone schools want payroll money from the state

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Boone schools want payroll money from the state
By Ryan Quinn, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

Boone County Schools’ departing superintendent, who said early last month that “I have every expectation, and no expectation otherwise, that we will be meeting payroll,” didn’t rule out Wednesday the possibility that school workers would miss paychecks if lawmakers don’t soon approve giving $2.2 million more to the school system.

“I anticipate no problem in meeting payroll,” John Hudson had told the Gazette-Mail.Hudson’s new statements to the Gazette-Mail, in an interview Wednesday, came the same day Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin expanded the current special legislative session call to allow lawmakers to consider two more issues, one of which is a bill that would provide the money to the Boone public school system this fiscal year.

Tomblin’s statement announcing the expanded call said the money would allow the school system to “continue to meet payroll responsibilities while working toward a solution to address significant shortfalls caused by an unprecedented drop in local property tax collections.”

Deputy State Schools Superintendent Cindy Daniel and Tomblin spokesman Chris Stadelman both labeled Boone’s situation “unprecedented.”

“The shortfall is so quick and so severe that the governor thought it was appropriate to provide some state assistance,” Stadelman said. “They’re looking at a shortfall of almost $2.5 million, and the vast majority of that is due to coal company bankruptcies.”

He said there’s concern that Boone won’t be able to meet payroll without lawmakers providing the extra money, which would come out of general revenue.

“We know a lot of schools are struggling,” Stadelman said, “but this one was a truly unique situation.”

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