CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) Thursday approved a declaration to intervene in the operation of Boone County Schools in response to the County’s refusal to provide a balanced budget for the FY17 school year.
While adopting the declaration, board members empathized with the financial situation in Boone County and acknowledged the budget outlook was extraordinary and unprecedented. However, board members were left with no option except to intervene because the County did not submit a budget that would guarantee operations for the entirety of the 2016-2017 school year.
“The State Board has no desire to intervene in Boone County,” said State Board of Education President Mike Green. “The Boone County Board of Education left the State Board with no other option but to intervene to provide a mechanism that allows for a full instructional term for our students and ensures sufficient funds to pay employees for the entire school year.”
In a final effort to allow Boone County to retain local control, Green also encouraged the Boone County Board of Education to call an emergency meeting to present a balanced budget and avoid a State Board intervention. The declaration provides that should the Boone County Board of Education present a balanced budget before July 18, 2016, the intervention will be void.
“I encourage the Boone County Board of Education to uphold its statutory obligation and present a balanced budget,” Green said. “As board members, we have a responsibility to our students and staff to ensure operations for an entire school year.”
All West Virginia county boards of education are statutorily obligated to budget sufficient funds to assure that the specified minimum employment and instructional terms are provided.
State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano recently directed the Boone County Board of Education to make certain reductions which were necessary to arrive at a balanced budget. The County Board refused to implement those directives, leaving the county without a budget for the FY17 school year. Martirano recommended intervention to the WVBE during its meeting Thursday.
“I cannot, in good conscience or by operation of law, approve a budget that does not ensure that the Boone County Board of Education can provide students with a full instructional term and pay teachers for a full 200 days of employment,” Martirano said. “We cannot ignore the economic realities faced by Boone County, and we must act now to ensure the student of Boone County are in school are teachers are paid for the entirety of the 2016-2017 school year.”
Attachment: Boone County Declaration