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G-FYI™: Reminder from State Superintendent to Schools Boards and Superintendents

The Free Press WV

Dear West Virginia County Board Members, Superintendents and Chief School Business Officials, As county boards of education work on their budgets for the upcoming school year, I wanted to take this opportunity to stress the importance of making sound financial decisions on behalf of the county boards of education that you represent. During these times of decreasing student enrollment and declining revenue, it is very important that county boards of education make the necessary adjustments to their budgets in order to keep the school system financially solvent. 

The West Virginia Department of Education has historically recommended that every county board of education have a general current expense unrestricted fund balance of at least three to five percent of the county’s approved budget.  The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA)  recommends a carryover balance of two months of operating revenues or expenditures which equates to a 16.67% carryover balance.    As of June 30,  2016, only 10 county boards of education in West Virginia met the national recommended carryover percentage.  Without sufficient carryover reserves, county boards of education would be unable to react in the event of an emergency. 

As student enrollment declines, county boards of education are funded for fewer positions through the state aid funding formula.  It is important that county boards of education monitor their staffing levels to ensure that they are in line with available resources and funding sources.   On average,  personnel related costs comprise approximately 80% of a county’s overall budget.  County boards of education that do not adjust their staffing levels can therefore quickly find themselves in financial distress, as there are very few non-personnel cuts that can be made to absorb declines in revenue.  I recognize that eliminating positions is very difficult, as it is never easy to make decisions that will negatively impact the lives of our valued employees.  Unfortunately,  in our current financial climate,  making such difficult decisions has become a necessity for most county boards of education. 

As State Superintendent of Schools,  I am charged under West Virginia Code §18-9B-7 and §18-9B-8 to review the budgets of county boards of education to ensure that they will maintain the educational program of the county as well as meet the county’s financial obligations.  If a budget does not meet the criteria set forth in statute, I have the authority to direct the county board to make certain adjustments to the budget.    While I take this charge very seriously,  it is my hope that all local county boards of education make these difficult decisions on their own.

Please be reminded that West Virginia Code §11-8-26 indicates that county boards of education should not expend funds in excess of those available. As you have been taught by the West Virginia School Board Association, under West Virginia Code §11-8-29, county board members can be held personally liable for the amount illegally expended and under §11-8-31, county board members can even be held criminally liable for such overspending. While it is rare that these statutory provisions are utilized, the potential consequences for overspending are significant and not to be taken lightly.

My staff in the Office of School Finance stands ready to assist all county boards of education with financial questions.  That office already maintains a Financial Watch List where monthly budget to actual analysis is performed for 13 county boards of education that have been identified as being financially at-risk.  However, just because a county may not currently be on the Financial Watch List does not mean that a county shouldn’t be closely monitoring their own finances and making the necessary adjustments to their spending. If you have financial questions regarding your county board of education,  please do not hesitate to contact Amy Willard,  Executive Director of School Finance at 304.558.6300 or at

Thank you for your commitment to ensuring the financial stability of your county board of education in order to best serve the students of West Virginia.

Sincerely,
Steven L Paine, Ed. D.
State Superintendent of Schools


04.24.2017
EducationFeaturesG-FYI™NewsWest Virginia(1) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

It is about time that Charleston came out with clear language about seriousness of school boards and individuals on them being legally liable for overspending.

Nothing like it went to the public during intervention while the GCBOE was stripped of all its power.

No wonder now why all along some GCBOE members have asked probing questions about finances and they were not answered. More power to those conscientious individuals who tried hard to do their jobs and we support them 100%.

There must be a full accounting of every dollar spent during intervention with no local oversight and no accountability at all for State-appointed superintendents.

We need a complete accounting of spending for the Linn school, the loss of public money at the top of the hill on Arbuckle property, spending at Cedar Creek, unplanned spending at the GCES, the BOE office move to the Minnie Hamilton building, the scandal from the new GCES being built too small, and much more. Citizens have tracked the waste and mismanagement for years and we are outraged. 

Unless a full accounting is done for public disclosure another excess levy will never pass in the County although we understand that there will be a major reset on July 1.

Thank you GFP for getting Paine’s letter out to Gilmer County.

By GCBOE Observer  on  04.24.2017

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Glenville City Council Meeting Minutes

The Free Press WV
GLENVILLE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
March 06, 2017
7:00 p.m.

 

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Mayor Fitzpatrick with Council members Wiant, Taylor, Walters, and Fisher present. Councilwoman Huffman was absent.


Pledge of Allegiance

 

Led by the Boy Scout Troop


I. Call to Order


II. Public

 

None


A. Approval of Minutes – February 06, 2017

 

Minutes for the February 06, 2017, meeting were reviewed and placed on file for audit.


III. Reports


B. Financial

 

The budget is currently at 68.21% of fiscal year with revenue at 77.74% and expenditures at 62.00%. The book keeper requested a transfer of funds to the following:

 

$9000 from 700 - Police Dept to 750 - Street Dept

 

$6200 from 699 - Contingency Fund to 410 – City Council ($3000) and 413 – Treasurers Office ($3200)

 

$1000 – Coal Severance to 916 – Library

 

Councilwoman Taylor made a motion to approve the transfer of funds. Councilman Walters seconded the motion. Motion passed.

The budget workshop went well and the new budget will be submitted to the State Auditor’s office for approval. Council will meet on April 18 to Lay the Levy.

 

Councilman Walters made a motion to approve the financial report as presented. Councilman Wiant seconded the motion. Motion passed.


C. Street report

 

Mayor Fitzpatrick provided the street report and noted the workers installed the LED lights in the stoplight.


D. Police

 

Chief Huffman provided the police report to council. He requested executive session to discuss personnel matters.

 

Council will go into executive session at the end of the meeting.


E. Glenville Utility

 

Mayor Fitzpatrick attended the February 28 meeting.

 

There were three (3) service line leaks that were repaired.

 

On sewer side, the new pump installation was completed at the lift station at Fitzwater’s on Rt. 5E.

 

There was approximately 300 ft. slip behind Western Auto and the pipe was replaced.


F. Recorder

 

Nothing to report.


G. Mayors Comments


- Update Municipal Ordinance Penalty Phase

Still in progress


- City Wide Clean Up – April 08

Make It Shine is scheduled for April 08 at 9:00 a.m.

 

Volunteers will meet at the football field and cover the city limits.

 

This will take approximately 2 hours.

 

The GSC football team will volunteer.


- Pi 5K Run 9:00 a.m. – (Route may change) Saturday March 18th

There will be a change in route for 5K run due to the bridge being out on Sycamore.

 

They will begin at the WACO center to Sycamore Road and return.


- Update on Camp Workers

Lost 2 camp workers last fall. Now have a new worker with hope to get a second worker.

 

Mayor has sent a letter to FCI-Gilmer requesting second worker.


- Laying of Levy April 18th

Council will meet to Lay the Levy on Tuesday, April 18, at 6:00 p.m.


- Resolution (guardrails installed on Route 5 going East)

The resolution was read on behalf of the citizens in Gilmer County that Glenville City Council supports this idea.

 

Mayor Fitzpatrick signed the resolution.

Councilman Wiant made a motion to move into executive session at 7:11 p.m. Councilman Fisher seconded the motion. Motion passed.

 

Councilman Wiant made a motion for council to move out of executive session at 7:27 p.m. Councilwoman Taylor seconded the motion. Motion passed.

 

Councilman Walters made a motion to approve Chief Huffman to hire Mr. Gandy as the new police officer. Councilwoman Taylor seconded the motion. Motion passed.

 

Councilwoman Taylor made a motion to approve Chief Huffman to participate in Drug Take-back Day. Councilman Wiant seconded the motion. Motion passed.


IV. Unfinished Business

 

None


V. New Business

 

Councilman Wiant asked about the River Clean Up project through grant money. He suggested trees under the bridge would be a good area to clean up and noted the project should start this week. Mayor Fitzpatrick will talk with Eric Squires.

 

Councilman Walters asked about the decision for the River Street property. It had been previously suggested to become a community garden and Mayor Fitzpatrick would like to continue with this.

 

Councilman Wiant understood the walkway on old bridge is scheduled for possible repair.


VI. Other Business to come before Council

 

None


VII. Next council meeting

 

April 03, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

 

Meeting to Lay the Levy – Tuesday, April 18, at 6:00 p.m.


VIII. Adjourn

Meeting adjourned at 7:32 p.m.

___________________________

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