The Office of Education Performance Audits (OEPA) performed an audit of the county school system in January at the direction of the State Board of Education. The OEPA report indicates that extraordinary circumstances are present in the areas of curriculum and instruction, facilities, finance, leadership and compliance with policies of the West Virginia Board of Education.
“Mingo County Schools are moving in the wrong direction,” said Board President Barbara Fish. “We are concerned that the students of Mingo County are not getting the education they deserve.”
The Board deferred ruling on either the appointment of an improvement consultant team or intervention in the operation of the Mingo County School System in order for both the Board and state superintendent to fully review the voluminous OEPA report and adequately reflect on the findings.
“I am disappointed that we find ourselves discussing Mingo County again,” said State Superintendent of Schools David Stewart. “The Board returned control of the school system about two years ago and since that time it is becoming obvious to us that Mingo County schools are yet again vulnerable and unstable.”
The OEPA report also indicates that Mingo County high school students are not getting a thorough and efficient education. According to the report, less than 15 percent of high school seniors met Promise Scholarship requirements. Sixty-one percent of Mingo County high school students must take remedial classes in college. Only five percent of students that took Advanced Placement exams earned passing scores. Also, the academic achievement level of Mingo County students is ranked 53rd in the state only above the McDowell and Lincoln County Schools Systems, which are both currently under state control.
“Mingo County is spending money much faster than the county is accumulating it,” said OEPA Executive Director Kenna Seal. “According to our audit’s enrollment projections, the county is trying to operate too many high schools based on the decreasing number of students. The audit team also noticed several safety and health issues.”
State Superintendent of Schools David Stewart is expected to make recommendations to the Board after examining the OEPA report.