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CommunityConcerns™

Community Concerns

CommunityConcerns™: Dr. Pellett, GSC’s and Gilmer County’s Survival Hinges On Your Leaders

The Free Press WV

Should GSC close, Glenville and the remainder of the County would become more of an economic wasteland than it is now. Conditions in the County are worse off than in decades.

Evidence includes closed businesses on Main Street and the only grocery store in the County is floundering with rows of empty shelves.

There are increasing numbers of abandoned houses in Glenville and the outlying area to demonstrate the population’s downward spiral.

The indicator to exemplify the County’s economic plight is the dearth of jobs paying a living wage necessary to support a family.

Another indicator of advanced economic deterioration is the near impossibility of selling residential property with more sellers resorting to auctioning at sacrifice prices.

Regardless of assurances by spokespersons from the hill that GSC is thriving and its future is secure, the evidence is unconvincing.

Consider the status of enrollment.

The WV Higher Education Policy Commission reports full time equivalent (FTE) enrollments for colleges and universities.

Total FTEs for an institution equate to credit hours taken by all its students divided by 15.

The reason for FTEs is that without use of a standard accounting method there is too much latitude for how enrollments are tabulated and reported.

For GSC, FTEs for the past five reporting years declined from 1460 to 1223 representing a 16.23% decline.

When WV’s institutions of higher learning are cited for vulnerability, GSC is always listed.

One reason is that WV has dwindling numbers of college bound high school graduates each year.

With competition for students intensifying there is concern that unless urgently needed improvements are made at GSC, future enrollments will not generate enough money to keep the doors open.

Another issue was reported in an article in the Charleston Gazette-Mail on March 27, 2017.  GSC had an alarming 172% tuition increase during the past 15 years to be the highest among WV’s colleges and universities.

It was not reported if any measurable benefits were achieved from the increase to improve GSC’s survival status.

It is known that an ambitious and costly building and facilities modernization program occurred at GSC during the 15-year period.

Were the steep tuition increases motivated by the necessity to pay off the multimillion dollar bond debt for the program or are there other explanations the Gilmer County community should know?

Dr. Pellett, GSC’s new president, has an unparalleled opportunity. He could implement effective measures to establish the College as West Virginia’s show piece for offering academic programs to prepare graduates for immediate employment.

That achievement would be monumental in WV because approximately 50% of new graduates fail to get employment in fields for their college majors.

By establishing GSC as a magnet for college students interested in preparing for existing jobs, enrollment would increase, GSC’s future would be secured as it expands in size, and the County’s economic status would accelerate as a direct benefit.

The down side would be that Dr. Pellett would have to cull some of GSC’s programs and to beef up others. That would thrust him into a delicate position. However, outstanding leaders have the courage and strength of character to function that way to achieve institutional success.

We trust that Dr. Pellett is one of those leaders.

One example of an opportunity for Dr. Pellett would be to reconfigure GSC to become WV’s unequaled flagship institution for teacher training. The need exists, teaching positions abound, and the idea merits serious consideration.

Do Glenville Mayor and Glenville City Council have Negative Folk Festival Agenda?

The Free Press WV

We are reading that Glenville Mayor wants to collect a fee from the ALL VOLUNTEER Folk Festival for the use of the Park.  This has been in the local paper a couple of times now.

Most people in our community understand the Folk Festival Committee-Volunteers struggle financially every year.  So now we see Glenville City Council attempting to add to the Festival’s woes?  The Park was handed to the Town of Glenville on a platter.  Surely the Town Council members can be creative enough to cover what little the expenses amount too?

Or are new vehicles, raises for employees from the Mayor on down more important than the rest of our community.

That Park is without question the best thing that has happened in and to the town of Glenville in over fifty years.  Our Folk Festival is without question also the best, long running annual “business” in Gilmer County.

If this is the path the Mayor and Council chose to travel, all activities within the Town need charged accordingly.  The extra duty of officers for the Lions Club Carnival, extra expense of High School Home Coming gets a bill, Glenville State College gets billed for traffic assistance at games and home coming too.  The list goes on, but by now you have the idea.

Mayor and Council Members,  please rethink your plan to strong arm the Folk Festival.  Be creative, raise funds, cut costs elsewhere.  You can do better.

~~~ In keeping the record clear, this author is not connected with the Folk Festival in any manner other than an occasional attendee.

~~author on file~~

CommunityConcerns™: What’s Next WVBOE For The County’s Smarter Balance Test Results?

The Free Press WV

Each year student achievement testing occurs in the State’s schools and preliminary results for 2016 are available for Gilmer County.

The scores were for Normantown, Sand Fork, and Gilmer Elementary grade schools, and the Gilmer County High School.

Testing occurred for English and language arts (ELA), math, and science.

This is a breakdown of results with percentages of students who tested proficient and those who did not as indicated within parentheses: Proficient%(Not Proficient%).


Normantown Elementary

ELA Scores:

  • 3rd grade 75(25)
  • 4th grade 75(25)
  • 5th grade 85(15)
  • 6th grade 80(20)


Math Scores

  • 3rd grade 42(58)
  • 4th grade 69(31)
  • 5th grade 54(46)
  • 6th grade 73(27)


Science Scores:

  • 4th grade 63(37)
  • 6th grade 67(33)


Glenville Elementary

ELA Scores:

  • 3rd grade 39(61)
  • 4th grade 52(48)
  • 5th grade 48(52)
  • 6th grade 65(35)


Math Scores

  • 3rd grade 39(61)
  • 4th grade 27(73)
  • 5th grade 19(81)
  • 6th grade 42(58)


Science Scores:

  • 4rd grade 24(76)
  • 6th grade 61(39)


Sandfork Elementary

ELA Scores:

  • 3rd grade 53(47)
  • 4th grade 20(80)
  • 5th grade 14(86)
  • 6th grade 80(20)


Math Scores:

  • 3rd grade 41(59)
  • 4th grade 20(80)
  • 5th grade 7(93)
  • 6th grade 40(60)


Science Scores:

  • 4th grade 13(87)
  • 6th grade 50(50)


Gilmer County High School

ELA Scores:

  • 7th grade 51(49)
  • 8th grade 45(55)
  • 9th grade 36(64)
  • 10th grade 48(52)
  • 11th grade 35(65)


Math Scores:

  • 7th grade 33(67)
  • 8th grade 37(63)
  • 9th grade 24(76)
  • 10th grade 23(77)
  • 11th grade 21(79)


Science Scores:

  • 10th grade 29(71)


What will the WVBOE do with the test results considering that they represent cumulative effects from complicated factors impacting the County? Some of those factors, as suggested by K-12 educators, are Listed below for consideration.

  1. Students receive inadequate mentoring at home which is critical for enhanced performance at school.

  2. Too much standardized testing to cause students to be under-motivated to do their best plus the lack of incentives to encourage their maximum performance.

  3. Students come from homes without computers to diminish their skills at taking computerized tests at school.

  4. Failure for school systems to be administered with reliance on plans written by professional school system planners with proven expertise in improving student achievement.

  5. Administrators in county school systems who lack skills and aptitudes for using quantitative assessment data for use in obtaining continual student achievement improvements.

  6. The failure to hold school system administrators accountable for student achievement.

  7. Under involvement of school boards in continual monitoring of achievement results and setting standards to be a serious governance failure.

  8. Blaming low student achievement primarily on local cultural traits to deflect public attention away from need to deal with a school system’s deficiencies.

  9. Test results are withheld from citizens and the embargoes impede community awareness and demands for improved student achievement.

  10. Frequent changes of testing programs to prevent access to meaningful trend data for administrative decision-making designed to continually improve student achievement.


It is too soon to know how the 2016 Smarter Balance results will affect the WVBOE’s assignment of a letter grade to our two schools with use of its A-F system. The letter grades are scheduled for release in November. If updates become available for scores in this CommunityConcerns™, Mr. Gabriel Devono is requested to respond.

CommunityConcerns™: WVBOE Lost Millions for Gilmer County’s Children

The Free Press WVThe Free Press WV

Since intervention of Gilmer County’s school system in 2011 local checks and balances were eliminated by making the County’s School Board powerless. The latest evidence of results from the deliberate disablement was headlined in the Gazette-Mail on August 2011. The story related to Charleston’s financial mismanagement to result in failures to accurately distribute funds to the State’s school districts. The mismanagement resulted in Gilmer County’s school children being shorted by at least $800,000.

The Free Press WV


The $800,000 represents a fraction of what the WVBOE’s control has cost the County’s children.  For one example, the WVBOE provided the County’s school money to Lewis County to construct the highly controversial bi-county Leading Creek Elementary School (LES).

Counting money for Williams and Shriver the project’s architect, paying one half of the cost of land, site studies, and what is believed to be a contribution to fix the land slip, the total outlay of our school system’s money is estimated to approximate $1,000,000.  We know that because of the WVBOE’s role in failing to provide proper oversight, Leading Creek Elementary School was overbuilt to result in five empty classrooms. Information is becoming available to confirm that the new Gilmer County Elementary School was under-built to end up with too little classroom space. The full consequences of that serious WVBOE error remain to be determined.

The Free Press WV


Other losses to the County’s children resulted from no-bid contracts, excessive salary and benefit packages to the State-appointed superintendents, and unnecessary expenses from moving the school board’s office to the Minnie Hamilton building.

The Free Press WV


As part of its intervention policy the WVBOE blocked access to financial information from the County and elected school board members.  Regardless of the secrecy, based on information and belief, it is estimated that the WVBOE wasted millions of dollars of the County’s school system money that should have gone to benefit our children.

The Free Press WV


For some evidence consider what led to abandonment of the Crooked Run project. The expenses included money spent on Williamson and Shriver for consulting fees, site studies for the rejected auction barn site, money spent on purchasing Crooked Run land at an outrageous price of close to $450,000, site studies at Crooked Run to include a wetland study, land surveying, and other costs. Total costs are estimated to approximate $1,000,000.

When money is accounted for in normal circumstances involving accountability for administrative decisions, focus is on recoverable assets and return on investments. There were no recoverable assets or return on investments when the WVBOE decided that there was not enough money left to complete the Crooked Run project. In fact, there was a net loss with nothing to show for it in terms of benefits to children.

The Free Press WV


Had it not been for the philanthropic I. L. Morris family in purchasing the Crooked Run site and donating land for the new school at Hays City, the State would have had a far worse scandal.

The Free Press WV


Referring back to the $800,000 the County’s children were cheated out of by the WVBOE, a lawsuit was filed by shorted WV counties.

Gilmer County did not participate in the lawsuit because with intervention the State-appointed superintendent protected the WVBOE’s interests. To have done otherwise by joining other lawsuit plaintiffs the action would have been an unprecedented example of the State suing itself.

Defendants in the lawsuits include the WVBOE, Dr. Michael Martirano who is the State Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Joseph Panetta who is the retired chief financial officer for the WVDOE, and Mr. Michael Green, the WVBOE’s president.

The Free Press WV


In summary the WVBOE demonstrated its lack of financial management ability, competency with complex school system planning, and effective intervention oversight expertise to justify its continuing abuse of power control over Gilmer County’s school system. The solution to problems is the WVBOE’s immediate return of the County’s school system to local control to allow a return of doing the utmost to educate children. Get politics out of it!

CommunityConcerns™: Gilmer County’s Ambiguous School Budget….

Gilmer County’s Ambiguous School Budget Enables Financial Mismanagement,
Cover-up, And Lack Of Accountability

The Free Press WV

The State’s failure to allow the Energy Express’ summer reading and nutrition program for Gilmer County’s disadvantaged children demonstrates the worst of broken government. How much more evidence is needed to prove that WVBOE and WVDOE officials do not care about the welfare of our at risk children?

It is said insultingly that Gilmer County’s citizens are too under educated to understand what is best for our school system and the State must save us from ourselves.  The brutal truth is that the State has another motive for the way it does business. It is to hide information so it can claim perfection with everything done with intervention.

For years we have watched ignored pleas on video tapes from school board members who want various kinds of information. If the State is not engaged in cover up why does it withhold information? In normal setting questions are welcomed to indicate that board members are interested in budgeting outcomes. Also, in situations where accuracy and thoroughness are necessary, competent administrators welcome questions. The reason is that they strive to avoid possibilities that important details were omitted or there were opportunities for enhanced accuracy.  The State’s imperious stance is that it knows best and questions undermine its authority. The WVBOE established a standard and strictly enforced no questions allowed policy in intervened counties to be painfully evident in Gilmer County.

The State’s Energy Express debacle is a perfect example of necessity for full disclosure and transparency with budgets.  If the County’s school system budget had been presented in an accurate line item format it would have been possible for the serious problem to have been detected early to enable the Energy Express’ program to be presented this year.

Budgeting is ultra-simple to understand. There are three basic accounting categories. The first one is for fixed costs associated with salaries and benefits, repayment of debt, utilities, and other known obligatory expenses. The second category is for planned expenditures including maintenance of facilities and other capital outlays. The third category is for unknown contingencies. They cannot be predicted in advance, but citizens know that the unexpected always occurs to make adequate financial preparation necessary.

Secrecy with financial management must stop. Improved budgeting practices are necessary for three reasons. First, a new approach would require more rigorous advance planning with establishment of defensible priorities for maximizing benefits for our children. Second, citizens would have more confidence that spending is not being done whimsically and wastefully, and a higher level of accounting detail would garner more public support to include extension of the excess levy for our schools. Third, a reliable budget with verifiable outcomes would institute accountability to help end suspicion and distrust resulting from five long years of intervention.

The public understands why some individuals on the County’s school board could be prone to approve past fiscal year budgets brimming with ambiguity. It is because in our County there can be business deals, employment security, and other perks including good grades and college scholarship money to be jeopardized from casting nay votes.

Also, the belief can exist that if rubber stamping does not occur for everything the State wants there is risk that full control of our school system will not be restored anytime soon.  That fear is understandable after authority for finances were removed from the school board the second time by the WVBOE. It happened as punishment after questions were asked about moving school board offices to the vacated Minnie Hamilton building.

When something goes wrong in intervened counties, the WVBOE relishes being in a position to never admit to fault and to respond that “the County’s school board approved it”. That will happen should financial problems arise without in-depth scrutiny and input from the County’s school board.

CommunityConcerns™: Gilmer County’s Summer Energy Express Program

WVDOE Withholds Summer Feeding and Reading Program
From Gilmer County’s Disadvantaged Children

The Free Press WV

Citizens are outraged about the failure of the WVDOE to ensure that our disadvantaged children will be fed and given the opportunity to improve their reading skills during the summer. In previous years the County participated in the Energy Express’ program. The highly successful program is administered by WVU’s extension service. Its purpose is to feed disadvantaged children and to improve their reading skills.

Everyone in Gilmer County knows that some of our children are vulnerable because of poor nutrition. In information related to Energy Express’ program it is stated “When the school bell rings for the final time each June it signals the beginning of summer months. But, for many West Virginia children, it also signals the end of the security of having two meals served to them each weekday.” There is no acceptable excuse for failing to feed the County’s hungry children when Energy Express is available to them.

Reading is something else.  Although the State is prone to keep the information secret from citizens, 50% or more of our children are not proficient in reading.  Reading is the gateway to success in high school and college, learning a trade in our high tech world, and being prepared for life in general. If a child lags in reading at an early age chances for escaping poverty are glum. Without access to Energy Express’ summer program for which reading improvement, in addition to a nutrition program, is emphasized the County’s disadvantaged children have become innocent victims.

The Free Press WV

What caused cancellation of Energy Express’ program in the County? It is understood that the State’s excuse was that a facility for the program was unavailable this year. Who in their right mind believes the truthfulness of that claim? Some checking exposed the State’s flimsy position that because deteriorated steps at the high school will be repaired when the program would have been offered, that facility could not be used for Energy Express. That was insulting nonsense because children could have entered back and side doors to avoid need to use the front steps. Besides, there would have been space at other facilities owned by the County’s school system, something could have been worked out at the recreation center or the College, or the I. L. Morris family, known for its long history of generous caring for the County’s children, would have prevented the disaster.

The reprehensible failure to feed and to help enhance reading skills of Gilmer County’s disadvantaged children is another example of broken State government. In particular it represents a shameful failure of Dr. Martirano’s WVDOE and Mr. Green’s WVBOE to provide effective oversight for how the County’s school system has functioned during intervention. The State’s administrative failure occurred because of its dictatorial elimination of all checks and balances by the County’s elected school board.

Incompetence, waste, and mismanagement from five years of the WVBOE’s intervention are horrible enough, but abuse of the County’s disadvantaged children by eliminating their access to Energy Express demonstrates a much higher degree of broken State government.

What can be done to deal with this latest atrocity? The answer is that citizens must begin to speak out to officials they elect to send to Charleston. If citizens fail to speak out nothing will be done to help our disadvantaged children and they will continue to suffer because of Gilmer County’s enabling complacency.

The Free Press WV

Did You Know?

The Free Press WV

GILMER COUNTY MAGISTRATE COURT

The hot water heater upstairs at the annex malfunctioned?? And after the water ran all night long destroyed most of the magistrate court area including their computers, files and took ceilings down?


GILMER COUNTY BUS DRIVER

Apparently a Gilmer County Schools bus driver has been very interested in female employees of the system. Reportedly complaint has been made to Gilmer County officials which have been ignored for some excuse or another. Even last Friday at the Gilmer County Employee Recognition Breakfast at GSC, the alleged bus drive ran over and kissed a young female employee on the lips!


GILMER COUNTY ENERGY EXPRESS PROGRAM

The children in Gilmer County will not be receiving energy express or a summer school setting this year! WVU was told there was no space for the energy express so the needy children do not get the two meals a day and Education. If a parent wants summer school help they have to sign up for a tutor to come to their home?


WHAT A NEW POLL REVEALS ABOUT U.S. VOTERS

An Associated Press-NORC poll finds that U.S. voters feel disconnected from their political parties during this presidential contest.


THE LATEST ON FALLUJAH IN IRAQ

Iraq forces begin their push into Fallujah, expecting to encounter the stiffest resistance to date in the campaign to free parts of the country from the Islamic State group.


THE ROLE OF DATA IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE

Data specialists working with the Republican Party say Donald Trump trails Hillary Clinton’s campaign by months, even years, in using digital campaigning to woo voters.


CINCINNATI ZOO RESPONDS TO DECISION TO KILL GORILLA

A director at the zoo defended the decision to kill a gorilla named Harambe to protect a 4-year-old who had entered its exhibit.


ERIC HOLDER COMMENTS ON EDWARD SNOWDEN

The ex-U.S. Attorney General says the former National Security Agency contractor performed a “public service” in stoking a national debate about secret domestic surveillance programs but should still stand trial.


BAYLOR HIRES COACH TO REPLACE ART BRILES

The Baptist university brings on former Wake Forest coach to Jim Grobe to lead football program through a tumultuous time.


RISE OF DONALD TRUMP ELUDES COMPREHENSION FOR THIS SCIENTIST

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking says he can’t understand Trump’s popularity.


BRAZIL ATTACK HIGHLIGHTS VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Brazilian police investigating a gang rape possibly involving more than 30 men say they have no doubt the assault happened but tests on the 16-year-old victim were done too late to provide conclusive evidence.


STRIKE ENDS FOR VERIZON EMPLOYEES

Nearly 40,000 striking employees at the phone company will return to work Wednesday after reaching a tentative contract agreement.


HOW SEVERE WEATHER IS AFFECTING RURAL TEXAS

Residents of some southeast Texas counties brace for more flooding as a major river slowly rose above a previous record after torrential rains last week.

The Growing Crisis of Our Education Infrastructure

The Free Press WV

You’ve probably heard about the fierce battle over school bathrooms raging across the country. It’s an important story for sure because transgender students should not be blocked from entering facilities of their gender identity.

But the current fight over gender equity shouldn’t take away from another bathroom battle taking place in our nation’s public schools: whether students have access to a functioning bathroom at all.

In Detroit, a local news outlet recently reported bathroom facilities in some schools are in such poor states of repair that teachers are forced to tell students, “No, there’s nowhere in the building to go to the bathroom.”

Physical conditions in Detroit public schools have gotten so bad, teachers created a Twitter campaign showing pictures of broken toilets, leaking ceilings, moldy walls and buckled floors. A prolonged sickout by the teachers finally got the government’s attention, but the legislature is still dithering over the money to fix the schools.

In Philadelphia, a recent audit by the City Controller deemed bathrooms throughout the district “not up to first world standards,” according to a local news report. Inspectors called school conditions in general “dangerous,” and bathrooms “are worse.”

In some school districts, the physical state of the buildings have gotten so bad, community groups organize to take on the maintenance tasks governments won’t provide. In one Kansas community, a high school student resorted to a crowdfunding campaign to raise enough money to fix his school’s bathroom.

Since this is Infrastructure Week, as my colleague Dave Johnson reports, let’s consider an essential infrastructure that’s not talked about as much as roads, bridges, trains, and utilities: education infrastructure. Lets’ examine how schools in so many places have deteriorated to deplorable states, why we drifted away from talking about education as “essential infrastructure,” and what we need to do to get the discussion back on track.


Not Just About Buildings

As I reported earlier this year, a massive backlog in school construction and maintenance has left thousands of school buildings nationwide in need of upgrades.

I pointed to a survey of the backlog reviewed in The Washington Post that revealed, “The nation is spending $46 billion less each year on school construction and maintenance than is necessary to ensure safe and healthy facilities.”

I also noted that a national project to address this backlog would likely create and sustain over 400,000 jobs, based on calculations by economist Jared Bernstein.

But it would be a mistake to confine a discussion of education infrastructure to school buildings alone. Schools are so much more than that.

In Atlanta, for instance, getting to school is often the problem. At one point in the school year, nearly a quarter of the district’s bus fleet was disabled and unable to transport kids to classes. In rural districts, the problem of adequate transportation is even more pronounced as consolidations extend the length of travel to and from schools and transportation costs continue to spiral upward.

Some rural school districts try to solve the transportation problem by bringing instruction to students via digital delivery. But recent research finds online delivery could potentially harm the quality of education. (Plus, close to 50 percent of rural residents don’t have access to high-speed broadband at 25 mbps and above, considered the minimum necessary for such applications as video, according to a federal broadband statistics report.)

The largest outlay for school infrastructure, though, is for personnel. Schools need human capital of all kinds, most importantly, classroom teachers.

But despite growing populations of students in the U.S., the number of teachers employed in our education system has barely increased. While the number of teachers projected to be in schools in 2013, the most recent year available, was 3.5 million, that figure is only 1 percent higher than the number in 2003.

What we invest in those teachers has declined dramatically, too. A recent op-ed in U.S. News & World Report reviewed data on teacher pay and found it is “low and flat-lining. The average starting salary for U.S. teachers is $36,141, and the average overall salary is $56,383. Holding constant for inflation, the latter number has actually decreased since the 1999-2000 school year – in other words, teachers haven’t gotten a raise in 15 years.”

Conservatives like to rail against “high education costs,” but the reality is our nation is spending less on education.

We’re eight years away from the Great Recession, yet most states still spend less per student for elementary and secondary schools – in some cases, much less – than they did in 2008. Nationally, total per-pupil spending on K-12 public schools has dropped three years in a row.


The Case For Education Infrastructure

No one would be surprised to see a roadway system bearing ever increasing amounts of traffic year after year, while getting diminishing infusions of maintenance and personnel attention, to eventually show signs of deterioration. But somehow there are different expectations for schools. Why is that?

First, there are prominent voices in our government who really do want to get rid of public schools.

With the rise of the Tea-Party faction in the Republican Party, we’ve witnessed the growing influence of those who advocate ending public schools. In 2011, a branch of the tea party that operates in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania openly declared its intention to get rid of public schools. In a 2011 article in Think Progress, Teri Adams, the head of the Independence Hall Tea Party and a leading advocate of passage of school voucher bills, stated, “We think public schools should go away,” and, “Our ultimate goal is to shut down public schools and have private schools only.”

In the 2012 presidential election, there was a legitimate candidate in the Republican Party, Rick Santorum, who advocated for ending public education.

The emergence of the Tea Party in part led to Republican takeovers of state houses and governorships across the country, and many of these officials refuse to do what is necessary to maintain public schools – and even work to undermine local efforts to improve public education.

There is another, however, even more pernicious conversation about public schools that frames them as something other than essential infrastructure.

For years, politicians from both parties have gone from talking about education as a human right to talking about it as a “choice.” Schools, we’re increasingly told, are consumer items offered in a competitive market where choice should be maximized.

For instance, former Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush once compared access to schools with shopping for milk. “I wish our schools could be more like milk,” he opined. “Go down the aisle of nearly any major supermarket these days and you will find an incredible selection of milk…They even make milk for people who can’t drink milk.”

Bush took his observation from the dairy aisle and turned it into Florida’s disastrous school system, where charter school corruption runs rampant and for-profit operators exploit the most vulnerable communities.

So we’ve gone from a conversation about what people really want most – the guarantee of a high-quality public school, accessible to all students – to a conversation about “choice.” How absurd that conversation would be if it were applied to transportation or utilities infrastructure. What different kinds of roads and bridges do we need other than the ones that are the best engineered based on what we know about roads and bridges? What is the argument for a utility grid that would be anything other than what works best for as many people as possible?

Students completely understand this. Just as they are awakening the national consciousness to the need to lift the weight of prejudice and oppression from transgender students in schools, they’re calling for adequate investments in their education infrastructure.

Most recently, hundreds of students in Boston walked out of school to protest the lack of investment in their system. As The Boston Globe reports, for the second time this year students across the city left class, hit the streets, and thronged City Hall Plaza and a City Council hearing “to protest cuts to the school budget” and “highlight the need to fully fund education.”

“I think that the first priority of the entire world should be education,” the Globe reporter quotes one of the students, “because education is the future.”

Amen.

~~  Jeff Bryant ~~

G-LtE™: THE TALE OF LYIN’ BS GILMER COUNTY’S BURDEN

The Free Press WV

The original sin: 2011 I am qualified to speak for and support this groups goals.  I will see to it that the Governor does a Blue Ribbon Study of Gilmer County education successes and work with you to stop this consolidation to one school causing the destruction of FOUR communities in Gilmer County. The children won’t be forced to travel.

Result: Change of plans. “I was never against consolidation! I can’t be part of this.  I’ve been elected and put in as President of the board.”  I’ll destroy you.


Local BOE President swears: I have local political influence and will see to it that intervention ends within the first year.  I will be Superintendent and promise to fire the High School Head Administrator.

Result:  Ron Blankenship stays three years and Gabe Devono is appointed by the state as Superintendent of Gilmer County Schools July 1, 2014. The President turns in his resignation but withdraws it. His public goodbye quote regarding Mr. Blankenship? He had “promised the Superintendent to never be an impediment to anything he wanted to do”. Later informed new Superintendent and the Board “they” had been “misled”.


BS continues collecting expense checks for many “principled closed door meetings” no one seems aware of but himself. Once more no communication with local BOE. Even the OEPA and WVBOE begin to see a problem with him. Superintendent approval is guaranteed as BS is put in place over multiple planning committees for more money.

Result: Board President actually says and believes there’s no need to speak with fellow board as he does not feel he “would ever do anything wrong”. Everything is under control. Name dropping constantly. All was done in the name of a local business owner per BS. Leading Creek goes live and more checks collected for Governance Board and RESA meetings with no report to the Board, no report to the public, no report, no accountability, no transparency, really, no board involvement whatsoever. Attempts to personally attack fellow board members in illegal executive session fail.


Sets up a board member to report on questioned educational statistics at the High School. Tells no one.

Result:  When the Head Administrator responds to the report and asks who wanted it done the Presidents participation is revealed.  His response was well yes I did but the board member “WENT TOO FAR!” taking no accountability for his own promotion of board dysfunction. In fact creating and supporting it.


Reports he has it on good authority Gabe Devono will be leaving June 30, 2015. He will be the next Superintendent.

Result:  No change in the takeover status. Gabe still here.


Insists on a move to Minnie Hamilton offices increasing rent to the BOE by four fold.  Funds for education go to support a financially distressed County Commission. Attempts to force an illegal executive session fails. 

Result: No cost savings.  More politics and the pretense of financial control goes back to WVBOE. Medical facility use is now diverted.  A chiropractic office is turned away.


No public information,in fact, board President supports the state appointed Superintendent’s position of no information to the board. The President lets Teachers and Staff know he does not believe control should be returned to the local board. They are not ready. Same thing is told the OEPA afterwards says he is satisfied with the recent audit.

Result: No change in intervention status. One elementary school on a riverbank, in a flood plain and students sent out of county. Money lost. Current attempts to hurt the head High School Administrator are done in the name of protecting made up reports of sexually abused sixth, seventh and eighth grades while the real goal is an attempt to decrease her paycheck in retaliation over an old disagreement going back to a vote of no confidence from the GSC professionals.  Even though he knows doing so endangers any possible future for a High School/Middle School. Seems not to matter, nothing good for the school system appears to matter to President Simmons.


Totally denies actual public board votes to expand minutes request information and items on an agenda took place. Sees and hears nothing that does not support a state agenda and keep him the only one to meet with the Superintendent, the SBA, the BOE or hear of any plans.  Publicly refuses to support expanded meeting minutes or answering the questions of anyone in public delegation or from the board time and time again.

Results:  Public anger, board exasperation. No information.


The Big Question: Why is someone who is very willing to throw Students, Teachers, Parents, BOE staff, BOE members and even local philanthropists under the bus to protect and glorify himself allowed to continue in a leadership position? Why support this farce?


Recommendation: No vote for Lying BS. Show some real support for the capable and honest members of our Board of Education. Send the message it’s time to go BS.


LIAR  fabricator,  fabulist,  fibber,  prevaricator,  storyteller

Related Words: exaggerator,  mythomaniac;  calumniator,  defamer,  libeler,  libelist

slanderer;perjurer;  distorter,  falsifier;  equivocator,  palterer;    talebearer;  
charlatan,cheat,  cheater,  counterfeiter,  cozener,deciever,  defrauder,  
dissembler,  dissimulator,  double talker double dealer,  fraud,  hustler,  knave,  mountebank,  operator,  pretender


~~  Gilmer County Concerned Citizen(s)  ~~

CommunityAlert: How Much Public Support Exists For A County Middle School?

The Free Press WV

Steamroller politics as usual prevail in the County with certain individuals lobbying hard to establish a middle school while claiming that “everyone” wants it. Where is verifiable proof of citizen solidarity on the issue?

There have not been publicized open public meetings to measure public opinion throughout the County so where did the State’s claim of majority support originate?

Is the claim based on divining, selective sampling of people cornered in grocery stores and elsewhere, and reliance on demands of privileged individuals in the County’s ruling class?

Why not conduct a legitimate County-wide poll designed to obtain information to accurately document the will of the majority? Before polling, accurate information should be provided to the public to let its members make their decisions based on facts.

Citizens deserve answers to the following questions.

  1. How would students benefit from the middle school compared to what they have now?

  2. Where is reliable proof from middle school experiences elsewhere to assure that it would provide results as claimed by the school’s advocates?

  3. Can the County afford a middle school and would the results be superior to those from other options for spending public money to serve students?

  4. If a middle school is established how and when will citizens know if the decision achieved touted results based on measurable outcomes and what are the specific outcomes envisioned by the advocates?

  5. Is there reliable information from unbiased sources to be 100% sure that the site for the middle school is environmentally safe to avoid severe health problems for students and employees?

The questions are entirely reasonable. Provide Gilmer County’s citizens the answers for their use in making a fact-based decision to allow majority rule.

Why not engage someone from outside Gilmer County without a vested interest in the poll’s outcome to conduct it?  How about a qualified and respected public opinion expert at WVU, Marshall or elsewhere?

Citizens in Gilmer County are exhausted from assurances that “everyone” supports initiatives the rich and powerful want while accurate public opinion is ignored to promote widespread victimization from unmet promises.

Let Gilmer do this one right WVDOE and WVBOE. The middle school decision should be based on facts and what the majority support instead of allowing the County’s ruling class to exercise its unilateral control once again over citizens.

The Free Press WV

CommunityConcerns™: Are We Not Living in America?

Dr. Martirano, Mr. Green, and Dr. Daniel
Why Tolerate Continuing WVDOE Abuses of Gilmer County?

The Free Press WV

When school system intervention occurs the underpinnings of a democracy are destroyed to allow the WVDOE and the WVBOE to seize absolute power.

  • Control is accompanied by embargoing a County’s money and spending it at will to include exercising unilateral dictatorial power to obligate a County into long term debt.

  • Nullifying the U. S. Constitution’s guarantee of due process by preventing a school board from using public money for legal counsel and use of the legal system while the State authorizes itself to use the money for legal assistance.

  • Neutralizing the elected school board to make it inoperable while applying divide and conquer techniques to sabotage solidarity among its elected members.

  • Censorship to control access to information and to use it selectively to shield the State from anything negative to fulfill public opinion manipulation motives.

  • Voiding of local level checks and balances by including only the ruling class in decision-making with bogus claims that a community’s cross section is involved to determine a school system’s future.

  • Allowing misinformation to be disseminated to contribute to mass confusion and disarray as a strategy to impede common citizens from banding together against the State’s repression.

  • Awarding no-bid contracts to favored businesses instead of spending public money wisely as a responsible State agency would do to maximize benefits for children.

  • Avoiding transparency intentionally to allow the State to conduct its business secretly which typifies tactics of a dictatorial junta.

  • Fueling fears that those who speak out against the State will be punished through reprisals against their children, loss of jobs, inability to get jobs, and other intimidations.

Regarding censorship in Gilmer County, one approach is careful sanitizing of school board meeting minutes to avoid entry of everything unflattering to the State.

For examples, what got into minutes regarding botches at the Linn School, problems at Crooked Run before that costly project was abandoned, building the new consolidated school in a flood plain, information about the candle wick incident at Normantown that morphed into a few paper towels strewn on the floor, thievery at Troy Elementary, the school board’s persistent and ignored pleas for information related to school system finances, personnel and other areas of important concern, failure to disclose net annual costs of the Minnie Hamilton move and costs associated with renovating the facility for move-in condition, grievances filed against the school board, concerns about truancy as reported in the Gazette-Mail, and many other concerns including the County’s school system being on a fund watch by Charleston? A fund watch is serious because it is an official warning from the WVDOE that there is danger of deficit spending by a school system.

The most recent issue involved refusal of the State to accept that Gilmer County’s school board passed a motion in March 2016 to require thorough meeting minutes to be kept for the public record. Enhanced transparency and accountability were the board’s intent.

What happened? At the April 2016 the State denied that the March motion was made and passed! The fact that proceedings of the March meeting were videotaped by the Free Press made no difference as did presence of witnesses.  Also, the fact that the State had taped proceeding of the March meeting was ignored.  Dr. Cindy Daniel the Deputy State Superintendent of Schools attended the meeting as an observer.

Gilmer County has suffered enough from the State’s five long years of repression.  A special appeal is made to Dr. Cynthia Daniel and Dr. Michael Martirano, her supervisor, and to Mr. Michael Green who heads the WVBOE, to end the County’s maltreatment by restoring democratic processes.

Government power in a democracy must be moderated by inviolate guarantees that it does not abuse its people. That basic principle of government for the people was a bedrock premise of America’s founding fathers. The State nullified that sacred right in Gilmer County when our school system was intervened.

Lord Acton said “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” His maxim applies perfectly to intervention abuses imposed on the County by the State’s WVDOE and the WVBOE.

What should be done to combat the State’s latest abuse? One choice would be to file a formal WV Ethics Commission complaint followed by using the Internet and social media to flood WV with alerts about the action. Prior to filing with the Ethics Commission the State could be given one week to reverse its arbitrary and capricious decision.

The serious violation of basic democratic principles by the State’s denial of a legal motion for better meeting minutes for the official public record calls attention to recent information on the Internet. Dr.  Cindy Daniel was credited with staunch advocacy for honesty, full access to information, and transparency.

We will soon know what Dr. Daniel, Dr. Martirano, and Mr. Green will do about this latest example of dictatorial abuse related to meeting minutes.  Inaction would suggest their collective approval of the County’s continuing flagrant treatment or that they are not empowered to make necessary corrections.

CommunityConcerns™: Sheriff - Treasurer in Gilmer County

The Free Press WV

In recent weeks we have heard former Sheriff and Treasurer Mickey Metz talk about the “accomplishments” that came to fruition during his two previous terms in office.

The people of Gilmer County would like to see more transparency in the people they put in public office.

We at the Free Press have verified the concerns brought up by the citizens and below you can see their concerns and proofs.


Concealed Weapons Fund:

During Mr. Metz term as Sheriff, he waived the concealed weapons permit fee for family members and clearly the guidelines of the concealed weapons code do not leave this to the sheriff’s discretion.

The concealed weapons fund has specific codes that are to be followed by the sheriff and they indicate that the funds remaining AFTER concealed weapons expenses have been allocated can be used at the sheriff’s discretion for the good of his office. The code further specifies items that the money CAN NOT be used for. These concerned citizens ask, Mr. Metz, have you ever reviewed that code?


Please See the Statements from WV Ethics Commission Regarding Use of This Fund


Here are some examples how the fund was misused:

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

 


Click HERE to examples of how the fund was misused


Deputy Phil Program:

It is the responsibility of the Sheriff and Treasurer of Gilmer County to ensure that all programs are properly funded within the county in order to comply with all codes. Money cannot simply just be disbursed to fund programs regardless of how significant we feel the program is to the county. The Deputy Phil Program is back in the county and can remain here at ZERO expense from any county funding. That is something that cannot be said from the Mr. Mickey Metz Sheriff’s terms, as he used some of the funds to pay for advertising which is not permitted.

Click HERE to examples of how the fund was misused


Campaign Sign:

The Campaign sign originally well displayed at the main intersection of Hays City had a couple of items that needed to be brought to the attention of citizens that they may not be aware of. Gilmer County has a websiteThrough the state. Citizens have been able to view their tax statements and make payments online since 2014. This information is on all tax statements mailed through Morgantown Printing and anyone in the tax office will be happy to offer assistance should you wish to make a payment or view information via the internet. Though the previous Sheriff may have aided in the receipt of grant money to the county during his previous terms, it is important to mention that the Sheriff’s office was not eligible for a grant because Mr. Metz was 2 years behind in the submission of his UCR (Universal Crime Reports). Though the sign was noticeable it is not 100% accurate.

The tax system that was installed in the office to protect the county’s tax dollars is only as good as the individuals that work diligently to ensure the accuracy of the information that goes into that system. The community is not aware that there was an entire year under the previous Sheriff’s watchful eye that there were NO reconciliations available.


County’s Finances:

County’s Finances were in chaos when Mr. Metz left the office. There are multiple findings by state auditors indicating the need for more accurate accounting practices in order to be able to reconcile with the County Clerk’s office. This issue was not a matter of implementing computer software; it was a matter of accuracy, communication and follow through.

Over $300,000.00 was brought before the Commission few months ago which was distributed from the tax lien fund for surplus from land sales that should have been distributed for years 2006-2010. This amount should have been distributed during Mr. Mickey Metz’s term, but was not.  Mr. Metz is now making a claim that he was well aware of the money being in the fund, and the citizen question is, IF he was aware of the funds being in the account, WHY didn’t he ensure that it was distributed to the entities as it is supposed to be on an annual basis?  Citizens feel it is because he had NO IDEA what was going on in that tax office during either of his terms as was evident by the lack of organization or detail in records during his term. The County Commission had to pay a lot taxpayers’ money to outside help to make a sense of the books and make them balanced.

This was 5 years worth of surplus from land sales totaling nearly $400k. If the former sheriff was so concerned about the citizens and bringing money to the county and saving money, etc. one might think that he would have given some attention to ensuring that they received this $400k in a timely fashion. The 2011 distribution was distributed on time under the supervision of current sheriff.


Sheriff’s Matters - UCR Compliance:

 

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV


Based on our observation and research it is important to mention that every account within the sheriff’s department currently reconciles on time and with no differences. This process required diligent efforts from the Sheriff, his tax office employees and employees from the State Auditor’s office. We feel this type of work takes time to correct. Our analysis shows little concern was given to the state of the accounts during the Mr. Metz sheriff’s terms and the records and auditor’s notes specifically reflect that.

In our opinion the Sheriff and Treasurer of Gilmer County should not only protect and serve the community through diligent law enforcement but should also strive to maintain accurate collections within the county. They cannot act alone. They must have reliable deputies to aid them in the office, courtroom and field every day.

The position of Sheriff and Treasurer requires many responsibilities. It is important that the county have a Sheriff that can fill the many roles and responsibilities the job requires. Protecting the county’s tax dollars, working to remove drugs and violence from our streets, implementing programs in schools against drugs, working towards grant funding for the county, continuing to build relationships with state and federally funded organizations, all while being in the office, in the courtroom, in the streets and available to the community.

This information IS NOT to campaign for any individual. It is to inform the county about the facts. We feel in our Great America you should vote how you want, support who you want, but you should make sure to trust the right person.

The documents provided here are all public information. We researched because of the concerns of many of our readers who had a desire to be informed, as well as making sure their concerns were valid.

 

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV

FlashBack™: West Virginia Department of Education and Gilmer County

The Free Press WV

June 06, 2011: OEPA Report Shows Many Irregularities and Violations in Gilmer County Schools

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West Virginia Department of Education has released the initial report on the audit conducted on Gilmer County Schools and the results are not good.

An unannounced on-site review of Gilmer County Schools was conducted May 02-04, 2011.

The OEPA (Office of Education Performance Audits) conducted the review which concentrated on official complaints that alleged the county board was in violation of policies or laws under which schools and county boards operate.

Based upon the Education Performance Audit, problems as well as a recommendation regarding Gilmer County Schools is presented in the report.

Click to read the entire printable:

OEPA Report on Gilmer County Schools

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GILMER COUNTY SUMMARY

Gilmer County Schools are at an emergency stage. The county has lost over half their student population in the past ten years. The system has not adjusted their facilities and their staffing patterns to confront these realities. The current school board is dysfunctional, divided, not providing leadership, and actually impeding progress due to not following laws and policies/designed to improve student performance. Technology infrastructure is lacking and rules are not being followed due to board decisions. Financial irregularities are occurring in part due to decentralized accounting procedure decisions. Three school facilities of the five in the county are sorely lacking and maintenance at all facilities is desperately needed. One school has been condemned and portable classrooms are on site. The county does not have an approved Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan and has been unable to reach consensus on what is needed.

Documentation is mostly insufficient to determine if laws are being followed to hire the most qualified applicants. Board minutes, however, reflect that the school board is trying to micro-manage, essentially replacing their administrators’ and county superintendent’s recommendations with their own, leading to a flawed hiring, transferring, and reduction in force system. Numerous questionable and irregular decisions are being made by the board prompting distrust and suspicion.

Other problems observed were 16 licensure and authorization issues, several irregularities in personnel evaluations, incomplete mentor programs for new employees, inadequate physical education program, incomplete policies, and illegal preference for local individuals in hiring.



June 08, 2011: The Takeover of Gilmer County Schools

The West Virginia Board of Education declared a state of emergency in Gilmer County Schools on Wednesday, June 08, 2011, and placed the school system on non-approval status.

The board voted unanimously to intervene in the school system immediately.

The West Virginia Board of Education and West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) will oversee all finances, instructional programs, personnel, policy development and facility issues in the school system.

The action comes after an Office of Education Performance Audit (OEPA) report citing significant leadership, technology, facility, personnel and finance issues in the county.

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An unannounced OEPA visit of the Gilmer County School District was conducted May 02-04, 2011.

Auditors found that “county board members were in discord, the county board operations were dysfunctional; and meetings were unproductive and resulted in the board being incapable of following State Code and West Virginia Board of Education policies.”

“It is further recommended that delaying the intervention for any period of time would not be in the best interest of the students,” said OEPA executive director Kenna Seal. “Based on the entirety of the problems in the county and the decisions, or lack thereof, there is scant hope that the school system can be improved with the current county board.”

 

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The OEPA report further states that county school board meeting minutes reflect that the school board is trying to micro-manage, essentially replacing their administrators’ and county superintendent’s recommendations with their own, leading to a flawed hiring, transferring and reduction in force system.

Numerous questionable and irregular decisions are being made by the board prompting distrust and suspicion.

According to the report, technology infrastructure is lacking and rules are not being followed due to board decisions.

 

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Financial irregularities are occurring in part due to decentralized accounting procedure decisions.

Three of the five school facilities in the county are sorely lacking and maintenance at all facilities is desperately needed.

The state board appointed Ted Mattern as the interim superintendent until a permanent replacement can be hired.

 

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The Gilmer County Board of Education has also been directed to work with the WVDE to jointly develop and present to the state board a set of standards and/or a strategic plan that must be implemented in order for the Gilmer County Board of Education to regain control of the school system.

Currently Lincoln, Preston, Grant, Fayette and Mingo counties are under state intervention.

 

Gilmer County OEPA Motions


1)  that the State Board find, based on the report from the Office of Education Performance Audits, that extraordinary circumstances exist in the Gilmer County school system.


2)  that the State Board assign nonapproval status to the Gilmer County school system.


3)  that the State Board declare that a state of emergency exists in the Gilmer school system based on the information presented in the OEPA report.


4)  that the State Board find that the conditions precedent to State Board intervention in a county school system are present in this instance.


5)  that the State Board find that it would not be in the best interests of the students of Gilmer County to delay intervention for any period of time.


6)  that the State Board limit the authority of the Gilmer County Board of Education as to the expenditure of funds, the employment and dismissal of personnel, the establishment and operation of the school calendar, the establishment of instructional programs and rules and any other areas designated by the state board by rule and delegate decision-making authority to the State Superintendent regarding these matters.


7)  that the State Board delegate to the State Superintendent the authority to conduct hearings on personnel matters and school closure or consolidation matters and subsequently to render the resulting decisions, and the authority to appoint a designee for the limited purpose of conducting hearings while reserving to the State Superintendent the authority to render the resulting decision.


8)  that the State Board limit the authority of the Gilmer County Board of Education as to the ability to conduct real estate transactions and delegate to the State Superintendent the authority to act in lieu of the Gilmer County Board of Education in a transfer, sale, purchase or other transaction regarding real estate.


9)  that the State Board delegate to the State Superintendent the authority to replace administrators and principals in low performing schools and to transfer them to alternate professional positions within the county at her discretion.


10)  that the State Board delegate to the State Superintendent the authority to fill positions of administrators and principals with individuals determined by the State Superintendent to be the most qualified for the positions.


11)  that the State Board declare the office of county superintendent of schools of Gilmer County to be vacant at the end of the day on June 08, 2011, and declare that any existing contracts with the subsequent superintendents be voided.

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John T. “Ted” Mattern
Interim Superintendent of Gilmer County Schools


12)  that the State Board appoint Ted Mattern to be the interim Superintendent of Gilmer County Schools starting June 09, 2011, to be paid at his current salary, continuing until a new superintendent is appointed.


13)  that the State Board grant the State Superintendent the authority to hire a county superintendent to replace the interim appointment and set his/her salary.


14)  that the State Board direct the Gilmer County Superintendent and the State Superintendent, after consultation with the Gilmer County Board of Education, to jointly develop and present to the State Board at a future meeting a set of standards and/or a strategic plan that must be implemented in order for the Gilmer County Board of Education to regain control of the school system.


15)  that the State Board direct the Gilmer County Interim Superintendent and/or Superintendent to provide written and/or oral progress reports to the State Board as requested.




June 12, 2011: State Take Over of Gilmer County Schools on 06.08.2011

 

G-LtE™: This School Mess Is Not Progress, It Is Selfishness

The Free Press WV

Listened to a school board candidate up for re-election whine and complain that some are bringing up old politics. First thing came to mind was,  is this guy kidding?  Could he have forgotten, age taking its toll?  Wow.

This school mess is not progress it is selfishness.  It is a small group, same as always, running Gilmer County into the ground for personal glory. It is personal power mongering.  It is cronyism. It is just another example of old politics rearing its ugly head.  Once more the old guard is working hard at deceiving the people though double-talk and hypocrisy, gaining state government approval while creating unsolvable problems and unrecoverable events throughout our school system.

If you really think about it, if old politics hadn’t been in the mix, intervention wouldn’t have happened.  People trying to run the Board of Education from the outside looking in did this to Gilmer County.

Take out organized business, take out the Toman’s emotionally involved Cubie love affairs, take out Bill Simmons working to get back at a GSC no confidence vote years ago,  whose only real purpose was retaliating to get back some taste of old glory? Wanting a chance to get back at a woman he fired at GSC who succeeded in spite of him. Don’t think about personal likes or dislikes.  Think about that.

Clear as a bell the man hung up his brains in the coat closet next to the state appointed superintendent’s jacket as soon as he was made Board President and they’ve hung there ever since! Videos prove he can’t run a meeting without G. Devono as his puppet master and won’t talk to any board member that’s not in lock step with the superintendent dictator’s plan for a county he knows nothing about, our county.

Eliminate one or more of the afore mentioned from the equation and intervention of a school system operating in the black, where every school made AYP, excelling among their peers at achievement and where a board voted 4-1 to replace a superintendent who refused to give them a CEFP would not have happened. It made no sense.

The state BOE, with Simmons help, worked hard for five years to convince us the old board was wrong, that old school buildings were beneath us, harming the students, that new buildings were absolutely necessary to improve education here.  Helped the state board close all four elementary schools to prove it!  Now an old building would be just fine but in the meantime the steps at our High School are falling apart, crumbling more each passing year. Can’t get them fixed no matter how many times it’s brought up.

Gilmer County folk are not forgetful, are not senile and certainly not fooled as to what’s happening here.  Troy won’t forget. Sand Fork won’t forget, Normantown won’t forget. A bad taste in the mouth is the daily reminder of the festering infection, the corruption. That memory of a sharp pain between the shoulder blades never leaves the one that’s been stabbed in the back.

How much longer is Gilmer County expected to endure this cafeteria style of justice served up by the WVBOE who sets the menu and doles it out a spoonful at a time until we choke? It is obvious to all but the self serving that they believe themselves above the law, that they are so self-important they are the law.

Old politics put us here and they need to back off, get out and let a system which always worked for the kids work. OLD POLITICS and the old politicians in Gilmer County are what stand between our children and a successful future. They have killed the economies of the areas where the great majority of Gilmer County families and children live.  They sure don’t live in or around Glenville.  Check the bus runs. Check the census. If community business leaders want to really help and give for the right reasons, because they care about the children, control of the Gilmer Board of Education won’t be on their radar.  They will help because it is the right thing to do.

So when you hear a certain candidate complaining that some are bringing up old politics, he’s right.  Simmons has to know there’s nothing new about that.  Old politics have been running this county into the ground for a very long time. It is the reason Bill S. turned his back on the voters the day he was made board of ed president. To get back into bed with the only ones he feels are important. Being part of the problem, he just doesn’t want to hear about it. There’s a few like that around here. But hear this Gilmer Board of Ed members especially the newest ones, this new reign of terror needs to end.

~~  Gilmer County Citizen ~~

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