AP NEWS

BOE to vote on employee RIFs, transfers

April 15, 2019

HUNTINGTON - The Cabell County Board of Education may vote to officially ratify 128 reduction-in-force or transfer notices for county professional and service employees during its regular meeting Tuesday evening at the district’s central office in Huntington.

Reduction-in-force policy is common in many workforces, particularly in education, in which employees are removed from their positions, often due to lack of funding or reorganization. In Cabell County’s case, as it is in school districts across West Virginia, RIFs are generally the product of the loss of state funding generated by shrinking enrollment.

Cabell County Schools is down 297 students from last year. The projected corresponding loss of state funding, weighed based on district enrollment, has contributed heavily to the district’s roughly $2.6 million budget shortfall it will have to balance in the next fiscal year.

Once an employee receives a RIF notice, they may rebid on new job postings listed by the county prior to the school year, with preferred call-back granted to RIF recipients.

The county is expected to begin posting about 50 job openings for professional employees and about 40 for service personnel sometime this month, which will likely mean the rehire of most who received RIFs. Jobs are often available until the start of the next school year.

Cabell County Schools is staffed by around 1,250 professional employees at an average cost of around $65,000 per employee when considering all benefits. The district employs roughly 590 service personnel, with an average annual cost of around $42,000 per employee.

In other business, the board will vote whether to approve proposed levy rates for the 2019-20 fiscal year at a special meeting just prior to the regular meeting Tuesday.

Levy rates will be slightly lower for the public this year, the byproduct of a growing property tax base in Cabell County.

Though rates will be a matter of cents lower per $100 of assessed property value, the increase is expected to generate an additional roughly $750,000 in revenue for the school district, said Drew Rottgen, treasurer for Cabell County Schools.

That new money, however, will be put toward a projected $2.6 million budget shortfall for the coming year, he continued, meaning Cabell County Schools has around $1.9 million left to make up when setting their annual budget.

Bond levy rates would fall to $4.87 per $100 of assessed value for Class I property (from $5.04 last year), $9.74 for Class II property (from $10.08), and $19.48 for Class III and Class IV properties (from $20.16). The other three levies for current expenses, excess and permanent improvement are fixed and do not change.

Totaling all four, the combined levy rate per $100 of assessed value would be $47.22 for Class I property (from $47.39 last year), $94.44 for Class II property (from $94.78), and $188.88 for Class III and Class IV properties (from $189.56).

To calculate the levy’s impact on a resident’s taxes, take the assessed value of a property, divide it by 100, then multiply it by the excess levy rate for the appropriate tax class.

Class I property is tangible personal property employed in agriculture and intangible personal property including notes, bonds, stocks and accounts receivable.

Class II property includes residential property and all farms, including land used for horticulture and grazing.

Class III and IV property includes business property and personal motor vehicles, campers, motor homes, motorcycles, motor boats, utility trailers, bulldozers, end loaders, tractor-trailers and all other property not classified as I or II.

In other voting business, the board may vote to contract with Mi-De-Con Inc. of Ironton for the construction of the new Highlawn Elementary School, worth $12,237,060.

Funding for the new 300-student Highlawn Elementary building and the demolition of Enslow Middle, where the new school will be built, was received from the state School Building Authority in 2017 and will be split 50/50 from state and county coffers.

The Cabell County Board of Education meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the district’s central office in Huntington. Meetings are always open to the public.