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the States either for school construction, teachers' salaries or general school purposes. Our testimony is not specifically addressed to any one bill. We are opposed to all of them because, without exception, their approval by the Congress would result in Federal encroachments which would inevitably dampen the rapidly growing local enthusiasm for better schools in West Virginia and disastrously weaken the increasing disposition of the people to more generously support their schools at the local level.

In passing, however, we may comment on two of the most widely publicized proposals. The principal purpose of one bill is to assure low interest rates on school building bonds issued by local school districts, but the largest school bond issue ever offered in West Virginia will be submitted to the Kanawha County electorate on March 30, and bond experts agree that the issue will be sold at an interest rate of less than 3 percent. Is it possible that anyone in Washington, particularly a Members of Congress, has failed to hear that bonds of the U.S. Government, recently offered at interest rates of 4 percent have failed to sell ? Another bill, said to be supported by the National Education Association, is reputedly designed “to help the school districts which are bonded to the limit, are holding classes in churches and community halls and taking any teachers they can get, regardless of qualifications.” By these standards, West Virginia cannot qualify, fortunately in our opinion, for a single classroom or any other part of the proposed handout. In no West Virginia school district does the amount of outstanding school bonds so much as approach bond limits; except perhaps where fires or other minor disasters have recently occurred no classes are meeting in churches or community halls; not one of the State's 17,000 classrooms is without a teacher and the 1,317 West Virginia teachers working with emergency certificates (out of a total of 17,056 teachers employed) are in large measure ineligible technically only and the percentage of such teachers is well below the national average.

We are also glad to report that for the current 1958–59 school year, State and local spending for elementary and secondary education in West Virginia is $4 million, or 4 percent, greater than in 1957–58 although the current year has been featured by severe economic difficulties, whereas 1957–58 was one of the best years in the State's history. It is pertinent for interested subcommittee members to know that the population of West Virginia is virtually stationary, in fact, a slight decline has occurred since the 1950 U.S. census; that school enrollment has increased only 4.8 percent during the past 8 years, a nominal gain of 2,657 pupils annually, and that we are aware of no violent or sudden shifts in the school population.

IDLE BOND CAPACITY FAR EXCEEDS SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION NEEDS

Our testimony in opposition to Federal aid for school construction in West Virginia is statistically supported by exhibit A, a table appended to this report and titled "Classroom Shortages Reported to the U.S. Office of Education and Adequacy of Idle Bond Capacity for Building Such Rooms in West Virginia School Districts". The U.S. Office of Education circularized the superintendents of schools in all the States in October 1958, and the West Virginia superintendent of

schools in turn circularized the 55 county superintendents inquiring as to the number of "instructional rooms” needed (a) to accommodate excess enrollment and (b) to replace unsatisfactory school facilities. A copy of the summary of replies received from the 55 county superintendents of schools shows that 2,093 instructional rooms were said to be needed in 48 of the 55 county school districts. Seven counties reported no schoolrooms were needed. Providing these 2,093 schoolrooms might seem a heavy burden, but the people of West Virginia anticipated all possible needs at the 1958 general election when a constitutional amendment was approved which added $76 million to the $75 million of idle school building bond capacity already available, making the present total of such idle bond capacity $150,631,518. In 1950, by a vote of 340,051 to 150,251, the people of West Virginia had ratified a constitutional amendment which permitted the issue, on 60 percent approving votes, of school bonds equal to 3 percent of the assessments in school districts. The 1958 constitutional amendment increased the bond limit to 5 percent of assessments and was approved by a vote of 282,423 to 165,741.

An astounding fact shown in exhibit A is that in 19 of West Virginia's 55 counties, where aggregate assessments for 1958 were nearly $1,200 million, not one dollar of school building bonds is today outstanding. If the school authorities recommended and the voters approved, school building bonds aggregating $58,676,815 could be issued and sold in these 19 counties within the next 60 days. The list of counties where no school bonds are outstanding includes several of the largest and richest in the State, such as Cabell (Huntington), Harrison (Clarksburg) and Marion (Fairmont) in which counties the aggregate of idle school building bond capacity is $31,897,786. It has been more than 30 years since a school bond was sold in any of these three counties. The school superintendents of Harrison and Marion Counties nevertheless reported the need for 247 classrooms as against idle bond capacity of nearly $17 million. Other rich and prosperous counties where the amount of school bonds outstanding totals a nominal $1,948,000 and where unused bond capacity aggregates $17,394,053 are Hancock (Weirton), Jackson (Ravenswood) and Ohio (Wheeling). It is completely clear that all of the schoolrooms needed in the half-dozen counties just mentioned could be provided in short order without approaching the building bond limits in any case. In the 19 counties where no school bonds are now outstanding, and where idle bond capacity is $58,676,815, the 19 county superintendents reported to the U.S. Office of Education the need for 782 schoolrooms. În the wholly unlikely event that the people of these 19 counties should elect to meet the deficiency at once and spend on unbelievably high average of $30,000 per room in the process, the job could be done with 40 percent of the presently idle school bond capacity.

The present disposition of the people of West Virginia is so favorable toward school improvement that we confidently expect school bond issues for 1959 to be the largest of any year in the history of the State. We have mentioned the $18 million issue in Kanawha, the seat of the State Capital, but we call your special attention to the fact that the voters in Ohio County will go to the polls on May 5 to approve a $9 million issue when the fact is that the school superintendent of Ohio County did not report to the U.S. Office of Education

the need in that county for a single classroom. The voters in Wood County will also vote on a $2,350,000 school bond issue on April 25 although a larger issue was approved there as recently as 1953, and at least a half-dozen other West Virginia counties are expected to hold building bond elections prior to the opening of the 1959–60 school year. The chances are good that the $40 million of school bonds now outstanding in West Virginia will be substantially more than doubled before the end of the current fiscal year.

For the benefit of those who examine the varying estimates of county schoolroom costs appearing in exhibit A, we may say that these estimates are based upon (a) actual cost experience in counties where schools have recently been built; (b) population, wealth, sparsity of schools, availability of local materials, wage rates and other like factors, and (c) the dominant economic characteristics of the 55 counties. In every case, the cost estimates shown substantially exceed the most recent actual experience in school building. LEVY POTENTIAL FOR CURRENT SCHOOL EXPENSE INCREASED BY

$14,818,475 The facts set out in exhibit B of this statement conclusively support the contention of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce that Federal aid for the supplementation of teachers' salaries is not necessary in West Virginia. This is true because the 1958 constitutional amendment, favored by 63 percent of the participating voters not only increased from 3 percent to 5 percent the ratio of school bond authority to assessments, but increased by more than 40 percent the levy potential for current school expense. As indicated in exhibit B, property tax receipts for current school expense will be $35,256,477 for the current 1958–59 school year, but the constitutional authority granted last November for 100 percent excess school levies, increases the levy potential by $14,818,475 for the school year 1959–60. While no one expects uniform approval of 100 percent excess levies in all of the State's 55 counties, the movement is already underway in a number of counties to take advantage of this provision. In one county, Mineral, by no means one of the richer, in fact one of the poorer counties of the State, 100 percent excess school levies were approved

last Friday, March 6, by 73 percent of the voters participating in the special election. Other counties where announcement of special school levy elections have already been made are: Boone, Brooke, Kanawha, Marshall, Mingo, Preston, Raleigh, Wayne, Wetzel, and Wood.

For the contingency that some subcommittee members may be skeptical of the ability of West Virginia taxpayers to add to their present property tax burden, we cite a recent U.S. Čensus Bureau report which shows the 1957 State and local tax burden for all the States in relation to each $100 of personal income reviewed by the residents. Property tax collections per $100 of personal income in West Virginia were only $1.81 in 1957 and Delaware and Alabama alone ranked below the Mountain State in this respect. The average in the other States was more than double that prevailing in West Virginia. Collection of West Virginia State and local taxes other than those on property amounted

to $5.35 of each $100 of personal income in 1957, the State ranking slightly above the average in this respect.

I may say by way of summary that the constitutional obstacles to school improvement which have existed for 25 years in West Virginia have now been removed and that the way is clear for the people to very substantially increase their financial support and improve the quality of their schools by their own efforts In addition to removal of the constitutional limitations, the statewide property reappraisal and revaluation program is rapidly gaining momentum with 90 percent of the costs being paid by the State, and 10 percent by the county courts. This program conducted at a cost of $1,500,000 annually to the State is nearing completion in 10 counties and is underway in 11 other counties. Since schools receive an average of 62 cents out of each property tax dollar levied in West Virginia, and since this program is expected to greatly increase property assessments, the prospects of increased local revenues for schools from this source are very bright.

May I say in conclusion that no act the Congress could adopt would so greatly accelerate the pace of general school progress in West Virginia as one which would irrevocably declare the intent of the Congress to permanently assign to the local school districts and to the State complete financial responsibility for the support of public schools.

School district

Rooms needed

Estimated cost per room

92

84 17 8

12

42

35 25 8 9 2 62 28 12 454 12 31 25 185 54 36 29 75 36

2 13

8 49 98

$15,000 21,000 17,000 14,000 22, 000 30,000 15,000 14,000 16,000 19,000 16,000 13,000 17,000 16,000 30, OCO 17,000 22, 000 18,000 18,000 33,000 18,000 15,000 19,000 22,000 23,000 18,000 21, 000 17,000 18,000 22, 000 14,000 18,000 21,000 17,000 31, 000 13,000 18,000 12, 000 17,000 18,000 20, 000 16,000 16,000 17,000 14,000 15, 000 13,000 17,000 17,000 18,000 15,000 16,000 14,000 26,000 16, 000

21

EXHIBIT A.-Classroom shortages reported to U.S. Office of Education and

adequacy of idle bond capacity for building such rooms in West Virginia's 55 school districts (compiled by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Mar. 10, 1959)

Idle school

bond capacity

Total cost

rooms needed

Excess of idle bond capacity

$1,380,000

1, 428,000

238,000
176,000

168,000

Barbour
Berkeley.
Boone
Braxton.
Brooke.
Cabell..
Calhoun.
Clay
Doddridge
Fayette
Gilmer.
Grant.
Greenbrier
Hampshire.
Hancock
Hardy
Harrison
Jackson.
Jefferson.
Kanawha.
Lewis
Lincoln..
Logan.
Marion
Marshall.
Mason
Mercer
Mineral.
Mingo..
Monongalia
Monroe
Morgan.
McDowell.
Nicholas.
Ohio
Pendleton
Pleasants.
Pocahontas..
Preston.
Putnam.
Raleigh.
Randolph.
Ritchie
Roane.
Summers.
Taylor
Tucker
Tyler..
Upshur.
Wayne.
Webster
Wetzel..
Wirt
Wood.
Wyoming

$1, 130, 572
1,966, 147
2, 357, 300
1, 460, 229
3, 524, 018
15, 022, 390

690, 864

862, 508 1,068, 722 2, 323, 462

643, 814

653, 986 2,682, 676

891, 787 4,785, 745

860, 065 9, 252, 102 2,676, 314

970, 280 18, 066, 600 2, 438, 309

782, 499 4, 135, 150 7, 623, 294 3, 748, 157 2,689, 974 4,081, 120 1, 460, 205 1,759, 140 3,088, 219

870, 165

531, 634
3, 413, 630
1, 665, 883
9, 931, 994

636, 870
488, 800

996, 262
2, 485, 885
1, 464, 079
3, 540, 838
1, 593, 042
1, 324, 356
1, 101, 412
1, 276, 086
1, 351, 854

595, 096 1, 180, 815

949, 594 3, 304, 258

532,053 1, 118, 127

256, 921 4, 528, 708 1, 797, 508

798,000 455,000 425,000 128, 000 270, COO

34,000 1,364,000

504,000

216,000
14, 982,000

216,000
465, 000

475,000
4,070,000
1, 242, 000

648, 000

609,000 1, 275, 000 648,000

44,000 182,000

144,000 1,029,000 1, 666, 000

-$249, 428 1, 966, 147

929, 300 1, 222, 229 3, 348, 018 15, 022, 390

690, 864

694, 508 1,068, 722 1, 525, 462

643,814

198, 986 2, 257, 676

763, 787 4,515, 745

826, 065 7,888, 102 2, 172, 314

754, 280 3,084, 600 2, 222, 309

317, 499 3, 660, 150 3, 553, 294 2, 506, 157 2,041, 974 3, 472, 120

185, 205 1, 111, 140 3, 044, 219

688, 165

387, 634 2, 384, 630

-117 9, 931, 994

363, 870 380, 800

684, 262 1,839, 885

924, 079 2, 360, 838 1,001, 042 1,004, 356

744, 412

520, 086 1, 291, 854

335, 096 1,010, 815

949, 594 2, 530, 258 - 172, 947 974, 127

46, 921 3, 878, 708

757, 508

26 38 30 59 37 20 21 54

4
20
10

273, 000
108,000
312, 000
646,000

540, 000
1, 180,000

592, 000
320,000
357,000
756, 000

60,000
260,000
170,000

43
47

9
15
25
65

774, 000
705, 000
144,000
210,000

650,000
1,040,000

Total..

2,093

150, 631, 518

44, 376, 000

106, 255. 518

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