The State Board had declared a state of emergency last fall when a report by the Office of Education Performance Audits revealed that the county had over 200 deficiencies in areas ranging from hiring practices, teacher certification, curriculum and instruction, and cleanliness of facilities.
Under state law, the board has now restricted the authority of the Lincoln County Board of Education in the expenditure of funds, the employment and dismissal of personnel, the establishment and operation of the school calendar, the establishment of instructional practices and rules, and declared the office of Lincoln County superintendent vacant effective July 1.
After the initial report last fall, the State Board appointed an improvement consultant team to make recommendations to the Board on how the Lincoln County system could be improved.
“It is always difficult to make this decision to intervene in the operation of a school system,” said State Board President Cleo Mathews. “But we believe this is necessary in order to bring high standards and quality education to the system. We take this action for the children of Lincoln County who deserve a strong educational program.”
The State Board also granted State Superintendent Dr. David Stewart the authority to take whatever action he deems appropriate to correct the deficiencies. Dr. Stewart named Bill Grizzell as superintendent and chief executive officer of Lincoln County Schools for a term ending June 30, 2004 at an annual salary of $87,000. Grizzell is the superintendent of Nicholas County Schools. Peggy Adkins, current superintendent of Lincoln County Schools, will remain in the post until June 30. She will be reassigned as principal of Harts High School effective July 1.
Today’s action stems from the results of a follow-up on-site visit conducted earlier this month that showed inadequate improvement toward state standards for accreditation.
This is the third time the State Board has intervened in the operation of a local school system. In 1992, they seized control of Logan County Schools and, after major improvements were realized, returned full control in 1996. In 1998, the State Board took over financial and supervisory control in Mingo County. That county school system remains under Department control.
OEPA Website http://oepa.state.wv.us/
Lincoln County Progress Report at the OEPA website http://oepa.state.wv.us/county_reports/LincolnProgEvalJune2000.doc