Boone superintendent: Schools still need $2.1 million from state

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Boone superintendent: Schools still need $2.1 million from state
By Matt Maccaro, WV MetroNews

MADISON, W.Va. — Trying to figure out a balanced budget to avoid a government shutdown on July 1 isn’t the only issue lawmakers must deal with when they return to Charleston this weekend.

Boone County Superintendent John Hudson says his district still needs $2.1 million from the state to meet financial obligations for the 2016 fiscal year.

“It is my intent that every employee receive pay,” Hudson told MetroNews Thursday. “This supplemental appropriation is critical for Boone County Schools and something that we need to fulfill our payroll obligations for Fiscal Year 2016.”

The money is not a gift, Hudson said, and it would be required to be paid back, which he said he told the state school board at their meeting Wednesday.

“The $2.1 million would be required for us as Boone County to reimburse the amount allocated to state aid attributable to that amount of property taxes it later receives after any court proceedings,” he explained. “So this is not something they just give us and we don’t have to pay back.”

Hudson has also pointed out that Boone County has paid more than its fair share to the state of West Virginia in the past in coal severance tax.

“That general revenue helps other districts, it helps the School Building Authority. Truly, Boone County has probably built schools throughout the state and funded districts throughout the state for years and years with the good tax base and money from coal.”

Hudson, who will take over as the Putnam County Superintendent on July 1, said that unfortunately, this shortfall is likely only the beginning of the struggle for the school district.

“Where we are now I think will be a two or three year process of tough times,” Hudson said. “But I am confident with the leadership and the board of education. Last year they made $2.6 million in cuts in anticipation of the $2.4 million loss. And we lost $9 million.”

Lawmakers are expected to be back in Charleston by Sunday to resume the special budget session.