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WV Supreme Court sides with Cabell County Schools on excess levy issue

By Katelyn Aluise, The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Supreme Court sided with the Cabell County Board of Education in a decision Thursday that reversed a December circuit court ruling regarding the board’s excess levies.

According to the board, the Special Acts of the Legislature, which made the board dedicate a portion of their excess levy to the Cabell County Public Library and Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District (GHPRD), is unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates the equal protections clause of the state constitution by not forcing all 55 counties to do so.

Cabell County Circuit Court Judge Gregory Howard decided in favor of the parks and libraries in December, requiring the board to continue to keep the entities on their excess levy in the percentages required by the special acts.

The Supreme Court order, which was filed Wednesday evening, said that the court would reverse the decision from Dec. 1, 2023, and ordered the circuit court to abandon their writ of mandamus, which ordered the board to comply with the special acts and find them constitutional. This new order would allow the board to use excess levy funding at their discretion. The Supreme Court is still working on its formal detailed opinion.

Working toward a compromise, Superintendent Ryan Saxe said during a press conference Thursday at Culloden Elementary School that the board has reached out to the parks and libraries in hopes of meeting them Friday to come up with a compromise before the excess levy proposal is due on March 4.

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