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The West Virginia Board Of Education Intervenes In Grant County

November 09, 2009

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education on Monday intervened in Grant County Schools following a recommendation by the Office of Education Performance Audits (OEPA). The OEPA told the board that serious county board leadership problems exist in Grant County as well as personnel and curriculum issues.

 The OEPA conducted an announced audit of the Grant County School System in early October 2009. 

“It looks bleak and we think things are getting worse and not better,” said OEPA Executive Director Kenna Seal. “Students are being deprived of what they deserve from the educational system.”

According to the OEPA report, there has been a collapse of leadership on the board level. The OEPA audit team found several highly irregular actions taken by the board related to state code and state school policy.

“In looking through this report, I was very disturbed,” said West Virginia Board of Education Member Delores Cook. “The bottom line is that the lack of leadership has impacted the students and that is not acceptable.”

Immediately following the unanimous vote in favor of intervention, the board accepted the following recommendations by West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine:

 - that the state Board limit the authority of the Grant County Board of Education as to the expenditure of funds, the employment and dismissal of personnel, the establishment and operation of the school calendar, the establishment of instructional programs and rules and any other areas designated by the state board by rule and delegate decision-making authority to the state Superintendent regarding these matters;

- that the state Board delegate to the State Superintendent the authority to conduct hearings on personnel matters and school closure or consolidation matters and subsequently to render the resulting decisions, and the authority to appoint a designee for the limited purpose of conducting hearings while reserving to the state Superintendent the authority to render the resulting decision;

 - that the state Board limit the authority of the Grant County Board of Education as to the ability to conduct real estate transactions and delegate to the state Superintendent the authority to act in lieu of the Grant County Board of Education in a transfer, sale, purchase or other transaction regarding real estate;

- that the state Board delegate to the state Superintendent the authority to replace administrators and principals in low performing schools and to transfer them to alternate professional positions within the county at his discretion;

 - that the state Board delegate to the state Superintendent the authority to fill positions of administrators and principals with individuals determined by the state Superintendent to be the most qualified for the positions;

- that the state Board grant the state Superintendent the authority to immediately hire Ted Mattern as county superintendent to begin employment in Grant County Schools on November 16, 2009 and set his salary;

 -that the state Board direct the Grant County superintendent and the state Superintendent, after consultation with the Grant County Board of Education, to jointly develop and present to the state Board at a future meeting a set of standards and/or a strategic plan that must be implemented in order for the Grant County Board of Education to regain control of the school system; and

-that the state Board direct the Grant County Interim Superintendent and/or Superintendent to provide written and/or oral progress reports to the State Board as requested.

 For the full OEPA report, contact the West Virginia Department of Education Communications Office at (304) 558-2699.

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