by William Duty
Just an untested opinion that I, an old retired and former school board member have about what most of our county boards are facing.
Back in 2010 and again in 2012, the state audits did not paint a pretty picture of the state board of education. These audits pointed a straight finger at, number one, the state of WV was spending more per capita on education than any other state. Then, number two, the state board of education was the commander-in-chief of a school system that had one of the lowest achievement ratings in education in the nation.
My opinion is that the state board in trying to ramp up the achievement put tremendous pressure on the local boards to do this and to do it quickly. Two extremely costly initiatives were pushed. Counties were to hire extra teachers (to be paid from local money) and to conduct costly in-service meetings in far away places as well as at home, and then the state was buying one costly program after another to try to bolster achievement. Added to this was the same for school service personnel.
Soon the counties were spending more than state aid and depended upon local excess levies to carry the burden. Now we look at Logan, Mingo, Kanawha, Gilmer and virtually all the counties that are close to bankruptcy. But if this pushed our achievement ratings up, maybe therein is justification?