CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education voted Wednesday to return complete control of Lincoln County Schools to the county school board and grant full accreditation to the district. The decision comes after Lincoln County made great strides in improving management and operations, personnel hiring, licensure and other deficiencies.
At the direction of the West Virginia Board of Education, the Office of Education Performance Audits (OEPA) conducted a new audit of Lincoln County in October. The findings led the OEPA to recommend provisional oversight be lifted.
“The county superintendent and the local board are functioning well,” OEPA Director Gus Penix told the board. “A professional culture and climate exist at both the county and schools. Extensive evidence shows that Lincoln County Board of Education members no longer are attempting to interfere in employment decisions nor are they allowing political factions to influence personnel decisions.”
The state board intervened in Lincoln County in 2000 after an Office of Education Performance Audits review discovered questionable financial and hiring practices in the county offices as well as serious facilities, curriculum and leadership issues. Since the intervention, Lincoln County has worked to resolve the majority of its issues.
Provisional control, including personnel decision making authority, was returned to the Lincoln County board in 2010. However, a partial audit in 2011 showed the county had regressed and was not in compliance with state personnel laws. An additional personnel audit was conducted in June 2012 before the follow up in October.
“We are happy to hear about the good things happening in Lincoln County,” said state Board of Education President Wade Linger. “The county board, the superintendent, principals, teachers, staff, students and parents in Lincoln County all have worked hard to improve and should be commended for their efforts.”
Schools in Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, McDowell, Mingo and Preston counties are currently under state intervention. For more information, contact the Office of Communication at 304-558-2699.