“It is always a sad day when the Board of Education has to intervene in a local county school system,” said Board of Education President Barbara Fish. “The Board’s deliberations are on behalf of the students of Mingo County. We spent several months reviewing all issues to ensure we fully understood the situation in Mingo County. I am proud of the Board and I am confident we made the best decision for the students.”
The WVBOE last week declared a state of emergency in Mingo County Schools and stripped the county of its accreditation status. This action was based on the findings of an Office of Education Performance Audit (OEPA) report.
“We asked the OEPA to conduct the audit because we wanted to know the facts before making any decision regarding Mingo County,” said Fish. “The findings were especially disturbing regarding the county’s financial situation. And we cannot address the bleak financial situation without considering personnel, curriculum and yes, the number of facilities the county is currently operating. Immediate action must be taken to prevent a deficit.”
The WVBOE first intervened in Mingo County in 1998 as a result of budget deficits, low student achievement and a lack of leadership. Mingo County regained control in 2002 when leadership was restored. The most recent OEPA report indicates that the Mingo County Board is once again operating in a “confused and dysfunctional manner.”
“Part of the Board’s decision to return control to the local level was the willingness by the local board to support the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan (CEFP),” said Fish. “In 2002, the Board felt that the CEFP would help the Mingo County school system operate within the budget and also allow the students to get the types of high-level courses needed to succeed in the workforce or at the post-secondary level.”
The WVBOE also directed Superintendent of Schools David Stewart to work closely with Mingo County Superintendent Brenda Skibo to develop a set of standards that must be met in order for the Mingo County Board of Education to regain control of the school system.