Upshur County Schools Assistant Superintendent Russ Collett and UCS Superintendent Christy Miller at the March 12 Board of Education meeting. (Photo by Katie Kuba)

Upshur Schools is preparing two budgets: One with — and one without — the excess levy

TENNERTON – Upshur County Schools must prepare two budgets instead of one for the upcoming fiscal year, the superintendent said at the Board of Education’s most recent meeting.

That’s because of uncertainty about whether the 2024 Excess Levy – set to appear on the May 14, 2024, Primary Election ballot – will pass or fail, UCS Superintendent Christy Miller said at the board of education’s March 12 meeting.

Although the current five-year levy passed in 2019 and remains in effect through June 30, 2024, in the November 2022 General Election, residents voted down the excess levy for the first time since 1999 by a slim margin of 166 votes.

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

“We are in the process of preparing two budgets — one with the levy [passing] and one without the levy so that we will be prepared and ready,” Miller said.

Miller encouraged students and families to download the UpshurStrong app for free and to check out the district’s breakdown of the 2024 Excess Levy, which may be found on Upshur County Schools’ website here. Links to a tax calculator as well as the full and amended levy order are also there, in addition to a breakdown of proposed spending.

As the May Primary approaches the unanswered question for many voters is whether the rate at which they are currently taxed will stay the same or increase.

Upshur County Assessor Dustin Zickefoose said the tax rate will remain the same as it has been dating back to at least 2012.

“To our knowledge, nothing is going to change about the tax rate,” Zickefoose said Monday.

However, the exact amount residents will owe could change, depending on whether or not the assessed value of their real or personal property has increased or decreased.

“The aggregate assessed value of all personal and real property in Upshur County is higher than it was five years ago,” Zickefoose said, “The amount you actually owe could fluctuate if the assessed value of your house, for instance, has gone up or down. If the value of your assessed property hasn’t changed, the amount won’t change.”

If you aren’t sure about the assessed value of your property, the Assessor’s Office has a Tax Estimator calculator of its own. Zickefoose said residents should ensure they enter the correct geographic District and Class of property they’re searching for. The Assessor’s Office is also happy to help the public determine what the assessed value of their property is.

“If people want the assessed values of their property, they are welcome to call us,” he said.

You can contact the Assessor’s Office by phone at 304-472-4650, email at or in person in Room 102 on the first floor of the county courthouse annex.

To prepare for both a passage and failure of the levy, the board of education will convene in a Special Budget Workshop meeting April 16 at the Central Office, although board members have no say in how money is spent in the wake of the state takeover.

Miller said Upshur County Schools’ budget is due to the West Virginia Department of Education May 31, 2024.

A budget hearing is also set for 6 p.m. at the board’s regular meeting on April 23. Based on the result of the May 14 primary election vote, one of the two budgets will be formally adopted at the board’s regular May 21 meeting.

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