State Board of Education Takes Steps to Return Local Control to Lincoln County Schools

May 13, 2009

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education voted Wednesday to grant Lincoln County Schools conditional approval of its educational system. In addition, the board agreed to begin the process of returning Lincoln County Schools to local control. 

State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine and West Virginia Board of Education President Delores Cook met with the Lincoln County Board of Education as the school system begins the process to regain local control of its schools after nearly a decade of state intervention.  

The vote was based on recommendations by the Office of Education Performance Audits (OEPA), which conducted a follow-up review in April 2009.

“Good things are happening in Lincoln County,” said OEPA Executive Director Kenna Seal. “Deficiencies have been significantly reduced and student performance has increased at the elementary and secondary levels.”
The team found that Lincoln County Schools made substantial progress and improvement in alleviating most of the original findings of noncompliance and performance.  
“We have been in Lincoln County for nine years and I think that is far too long,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “I think we still have some issues to work out with Lincoln County but it is time to move forward.”
The state board intervened in Lincoln County in 2000 after an OEPA audit discovered questionable financial practices and hiring practices in the county offices and serious facilities, curriculum and leadership issues.   
Since the intervention, Lincoln County has worked to resolve the majority of its issues; however, concerns still remain regarding personnel. As a result the state board expects to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the local board. The MOU requires the current state-appointed county superintendent, David Roach, to remain in place for at least one year. After one year, the county superintendent would work with the local board to transition leadership to a new person.
Also as part of the MOU, the state board will keep control of all personnel issues and finances related to personnel.  
“We are fine tuning the areas of concerns in Lincoln County and honing in on areas that need additional support,” said Paine. “Overall, we are very proud of the work done by the county board, the superintendent, teachers, students and parents in Lincoln County.”
McDowell, Mingo and Preston counties are currently under state control. For more information about Lincoln County Schools, contact the West Virginia Department of Education’s Communications Office at 304-558-2699.

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