Upshur County Schools Treasurer Sarah Wills discusses the proposed 2024-2025 fiscal year budget at Tuesday’s budget hearing at a special Upshur County Board of Education meeting. Also pictured is UCS Assistant Superintendent Russ Collett. (Katie Kuba / My Buckhannon)

Upshur County Schools treasurer presents budget, with eyes on May 14 election results

TENNERTON – The treasurer of Upshur County Schools presented a $49.2 million budget at the county Board of Education’s special meeting Tuesday – but pending the May Primary Election results, some of those figures could change.

The budget UCS Treasurer Sarah Wills presented to board members and the public at the May 7 budget hearing did not include funds from the excess levy, which failed by 166 votes in November 2023 and will be on the ballot again on Election Day, May 14, 2024.

That’s because the West Virginia Department of Education and State Code requires that public school districts submit budgets without levy monies if a levy is not already in effect for the upcoming fiscal year. The current five-year levy will expire June 30, 2024, if voters do not renew it at the ballot box in this year’s May Primary.

Therefore, Wills presented a proposed Upshur County Board of Education budget balanced at approximately $49.2 million, meaning the revenues and expenses match, per West Virginia Code. The budget currently includes monies separated into two funds: a General Expense Fund and a Special Revenue Fund.


“This will be the budget without the levy since we do not know whether it is going to pass or fail,” Wills said. “We have to present one in the instance that it does not pass, and then if it would, I did have to do another one in case it does pass – but this is the one without the levy.”

The General Current Expense Fund for Upshur County Schools for fiscal year 2024-2025 balances revenues and expenditures at $41.9 million or exactly $41,936,816.


Wills said revenues are primarily comprised of funding based on a state aid formula related to student population and socioeconomic status.

“This is mainly all of our state aid money that we get from the state – that’s a huge portion of our budget. It’s about $22 million, and some of the property tax money that we get is around $7 million,” she said. “If the levy would pass, that would be another $3 million-and-some dollars that we would be able to spend, according to the levy call that we have out there. Our total estimated revenues and expenditures for our General Fund for this [upcoming fiscal year] is almost $42 million.”

The excess levy would bring in about $3.8 million, according to the order.


Wills said the largest portion of the estimated expenditures that come out of the General Current Expense Fund is spent on instruction, making up about 57 percent – or close to $24 million – of the fund’s expenditures.

The most sizable expense is instruction at $23.9 million. Secondarily, money spent on supporting services — including student support, central administration, school administration, central services, operation and maintenance of facilities and student transportation – amounts to approximately $15.5 million.

The General Fund Account document also shows some food service money ($167,823), community services funds ($139,300) and capital outlay ($250,000), as well as debt service for the principal retirement on Apple leases ($890,401).


Revenues and expenditures in the Special Revenue Fund are balanced at $7,332,788.


The largest part comes from federal sources – about $5.7 million — plus other miscellaneous state sources for professional development, etc.


Wills said the highest proportion of funds from the Special Revenue account will be spent on food services (about $3 million), with the second largest amount being expended on instruction (roughly $2.9 million).

The treasurer emphasized payroll is the school district’s largest expense and is utilized as a starting point or baseline in the budgeting process.

“The majority of our budget – about 82 percent of it — is payroll, so that doesn’t leave very much to [fund] the other areas,” Wills said. “That’s one of the reasons why the levy would help us maintain our facilities and our instruction and things of that nature.”

Upshur County Schools Superintendent Christy Miller said Wills had prepared a budget in the event the levy passes — but according to West Virginia Code, since it has not yet passed, the school system must submit a budget without the levy funds to the state first, even if the results of an upcoming election could change the numbers.

“We do have a prepared budget with the levy,” Miller said. “Should it pass, we would bring that back to a board meeting after the canvassing.”

The superintendent said a copy of the budget as it was presented at the May 7 meeting is posted on the Upshur County Schools’ website here.

“It does present a little bit of an issue this year because, as Sarah said, if the levy should pass, that will make this [2024-2025] budget different, and we will have to come back together and pass that budget so that we can meet timelines for the Department of Education,” Miller said.

The WVDE mandates school districts to submit budgets no later than May 31, and the next regular meeting of the board of education is set for 6 p.m. May 21.

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