The Free Press WV

On the front page of the February 23, 2017 edition, Gilmer’s only newspaper (Glenville Democrat/Pathfinder) started a report on the February 20, 2017 meeting of the local BOE.  The one thing correctly quoted from that meeting was a board member’s defense of the board and that’s just fine.

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Then it went to rumor, “Devono may be gone” and promised to report the rest next issue.  But when we picked up a copy this past week low and behold it is about Mr. Devono handling local school overcrowding!

Stated that “we” (must have a mouse in his pocket) have been dealing with this problem for the past 18 months. Now correct if wrong but didn’t that school just open August of this year? The front page article in the lower right corner continues to quote state appointed superintendent Devono saying that the local “Board” is looking for the State Board to approve grades 6-8 as a middle school in the Glenville Elementary School building.

Finally that he wants to keep the job and have the “Board” extend his contract and that the SBA Director O’Cull just “automatically” posts the job when contract expires.

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WOW, there’s so much untruth there it’s hard to say where to start. When did the local board EVER have the right to sign his contract?

But let us begin with what the MOU returning full control to the Gilmer County Board of Ed, approved by vote and signature of the WV Board of Ed AND the Gilmer County Board of Ed. It states in part as follows on page 3 item #s 3 & 4:

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3. The current superintendent will remain in the position until June 30, 2017, unless the superintendent and the Gilmer County Board of Education mutually agree to terminate the contract.

4.The Gilmer County Board of Education shall post and fill the position of superintendent by July 01, 2017.  The current superintendent retains all rights to apply for the position if so desired and shall be given the same consideration as all other applicants.  The GCBOE shall consult with the West Virginia School Board Association in the superintendent search and selection process.

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Now, if the paper’s editor had chosen to do so, he could have simply reported the local board meeting.  All of it.

He could have said that Dr. O’Cull of the SBA was asked to come review the hiring process for a superintendent position and a vote of 5-0 was taken to permit him to assist the board and continue with the job search as agreed to by MOU and that posting would be brought to the next regular meeting.

The room was full of people who heard it that night and read the MOU previously posted here in full.

The MOU was reported in the CGM and was an attachment to State Board minutes.

No one can believe Gabriel Devono wasn’t given a copy for file available to the public.

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Our local newspaper editor could have reported correctly that the GCBOE spoke with several staff members at that meeting and set up a meeting for Monday March 06, 2017 to talk about the overcrowding issue for the first time since Gabriel Devono came here July 01, 2014 and since local control was returned by the state January of this year.

But he didn’t.

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As to facility issues, there’s no way the Gilmer County Board of Education is looking for approval from the State BOE at this time.

They haven’t had enough time to get all the information denied over and over by intervention since June 2011 and make any kind of intelligent decision.

The OEPA report revealed that Mr. Devono didn’t think Gilmer board should have full control return.

Now he needs them?

David Corcoran knows it and Gabriel Devono knows it.

Now you know it. 

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Reporting a job scared, state appointed superintendent’s personal agenda is not news.

Using that to tease in and falsely report slanted news to readers is not ethical.

The writer of those articles in the paper should be ashamed.

Read that MOU, speak with your board members call the State Board in Charleston.

Get actual facts not supposition. 

Understand that six years of poor management under intervention can not be undone in 2 months. 

Don’t look back, help Gilmer County move forward.

A little bit of truth can often be used to spread a lot of lies and do a lot of harm.

Don’t let state intervention legacy prevent building a future for primary and secondary education right here at home.

There’s still a lot of good can be done.

Does Mr. Devano really think the local board won’t replace him on June 30th with someone who has local children in mind after the fiasco of the past few years??

Comment by Karen Pennebaker  on  03.06.2017

I’ve been a reader since retirement 20 years ago.
I’ve yet to hear anyone accuse them of being accurate.

Comment by Democrap Reader  on  03.06.2017

News editor D Corcoran Senior Glenville Democrat-Pathfinder owes the Gilmer County Board of Education an apology.  Actually, he owes the national press core an apology for pretending to print news! 

Even regular know it all naysayers tell it so. Was told around the cornerstone the President talked about how important it was for community groups to get back their buildings and make something of them and the whole board spent a long time in private on an employee complaint. Might as well not bother to pay somebody to attend and report if what was in the paper passes for news. They seldom even bother anyway.

Comment by Save Your Money Read The GFP  on  03.06.2017

Mr. Devano had 5 people singing praises in his choir.
Three of them are no longer BOE members.
One owns a newspaper.  That accounts for 4.
Number 5 looks at him from the mirror.

Comment by Devano has no choir  on  03.07.2017

Rounds are being made by assigned town criers to spread propaganda that what happened with intervention and building the new too small GES was not due to planning errors or any other types of botch.

OK. What is the correct description for the State- sponsored disaster? Lipstick on a pig is still a pig.

Comment by Someone Should Be Held Accountable  on  03.07.2017

Its being widely reported Mr. Devano has a backup choir in place.

Paid staff singing praises and glories at yesterday’s special work session.

Apparently the choir should practice more, as well as find a new ‘director’.

Reported our local elected school board did not give any standing ovations.

Comment by Correction on Devano Choir  on  03.07.2017

Citizens hear that it was claimed at the meeting that the GCES crowding crisis was not caused by incompetent planning. What else could you call it?

Another thing it was stated that the crowding could be solved by moving out the 6th grade.

How does the last claim stack up when parents hear that the GCES is up to 10 rooms too small?

Another excess levy will never pass again unless citizens start getting the truth and existing SNAFUs are cleaned up the best they can be after the State’s long string of blunders.

Comment by Parents For Sending Children to LCES  on  03.08.2017

What is the whole truth behind intense pressure for a 6th, 7th, and 8th grade middle school at the old GES?

Is it motivated by concerns for keeping the gym out there or other secret reasons being kept under wraps?

The telling tale is that the GCES’s 6th graders could be moved to the GCHS to have a middle school there if one could be justified by verifiable facts.

Comment by Pete Jenkins  on  03.08.2017

Details are emerging about the special GCBOE meeting on Monday called by Devono.

It is reported that Devono and his staff presented four options for solving crowding at the new GCES.

Although it was obvious that the GCBOE had been kept in the dark until Monday the strategy seemed to be for its members to be expected to rush to a decision on the spot for the way to solve the crowding problem.

One trick in a zero sum game at which one side wins is for the side with power to maneuver to suggest options that no matter what choice is made that side wins.

What needs to be done is to have an array of reasonable options to consider and to do the utmost to objectively evaluate pros and cons of each one to use the information to make decisions based on facts.

One scare tactic being used now is that if Gilmer’s preK-6 students go to the Leading Creek Elementary School our County would lose money.

What about this? if removing 6th graders from the GCES would solve all the crowding problems as it seems to be advocated by Devono and his staff, why not send the 6th graders to Leading Creek for one year?

Afterwards they would come back to Gilmer County from the 7th grade on and the money would come back to our County.

Why this option and others of reason were not considered with objectivity is alarming when Gilmer County has a world class mess on its hands with the crowding at our new $14,000,000 GCES?

Comment by Randal Messenger  on  03.08.2017

The crowding problem at the GCES would not be solved by moving the sixth grade out.

Talk to teachers and parents to verify this fact.

If the sixth grade were to be moved out anyway the students could go to unused space at the GCHS instead of going to the old GES to have a middle school.

The motive for a middle school at the GES is clearly a smoke screen ruse to protect the gym out there. It has nothing to do with what is best for students.

Send the GCBOE’s central office to the GES instead of paying rent money to the County Commission and save the gym that way!

Comment by GCES Fed Up Parents  on  03.09.2017

Citizens are pleased that the GCBOE is exercising its authority by permitting teachers to give input on ideas for solving crowding at the GCES.

Teachers know what is going on and what is best for children. High praise and respect are extended to teachers who had courage to speak at Monday’s special meeting.

Citizens are pleased too about the GCBOE taking a formal stand on staffing in the schools by voting for it to receive information about qualifications of applicants and other details before deciding on individuals to place in our schools.

We deserve to know more about those who go into schools to be with our children, and this does not seem to be an unreasonable common sense expectation in America.

Also, we know that the GCBOE will adjust OK after 6 years of the State’s secrecy and deliberate withholding of information to prevent the board from being informed about what was going on.

Thanks is given to Mr. Minigh for his leadership in ensuring a better way of doing business with the GCBOE in full control. It shows already with the board functioning as a high performance team.

We thank Mr. Ramezan and Mr. Triplet for agreeing to serve on the GCBOE after all the chaos with the State in control.

These gentlemen have special skills to broaden the board’s capabilities, and citizens know that their first concern will be doing what is best for children.

Comment by Appreciative Gilmer County Community  on  03.09.2017

I agree as well. As a parent I think the board has to take all the steps to make sure the qualified employees are hired. We pay taxes and send our children to schools and expect good hiring. History can speak for itself, we have to put an end to waste of the tax dollars and favoritism to hiring unqualified personnel.

Comment by Concerned Parent  on  03.09.2017

Gilmer County will show progress when the best qualified instead of the best connected are always chosen for teaching jobs.

It is a gross disservice to children if someone is hired who cannot pass PRAXIS, a WV subject matter competency test, when a qualified person was available.

Dig hard to learn if any of that happened during your intervention.

When an elected school board is locked out of rightful personnel decision processes local level checks and balances, and accountability for those who hire are eliminated to damage school systems.

Comment by WVDE Personnel Specialist  on  03.09.2017

Every single board member must beware of those who flatter with empty words merely to make a favorable impression.

We having faith in those selected shall be satisfied with the final results of a job done well without seeking glory.

Comment by Word To The Wise  on  03.09.2017

This GFP posting is based on true facts to make a continuing cover-up impossible to maintain.

The grave problem facing the County is how to fix crowding at the new $14,000,000 GCES built under the State’s 5.5 yrs. of intervention.

Finger pointing won’t get us anywhere and from this point on we must evaluate reasonable solutions to agree on ones we could live with.

We know that after a major botch job, patch work to try to fix it never works out to be 100% effective compared to doing it right the first time. That is a cruel fact of life.

Similar to an alcoholics anonymous program the first step is open admission that a problem exists to pave ways for doing something to try to fix it.

That admission is finally where we are now after keeping facts hidden from Gilmer County’s citizens.

Our only choice is to work together to deal with the problem the best we can because effective mitigation is owed to our victimized children. It won’t be easy and compromises will be certain.

Did anyone from the Democrat attend the special meeting to get information for an article to objectively disclose what the County faces with the crowding problem?

Dr. Corcoran is invited to get an article written to print soon as possible.

Comment by GCES Overcrowding Facts Finally Exposed  on  03.10.2017

Citizens are aware that the State kept school system information secret during intervention.

For just one example salaries of school system employees have gone unreported. In other states the information is available to the public.

One of our concerns involves pay increases to selected employees in the school board’s office when our County has only two schools and the smallest head count of students compared to any other WV county.

Some schools in WV have more students than we do in the entire County and there can be 10 or more schools to administer!!!

How were pay increases for selected employees directly under Devono justified at a time when we are being harped on to pass another levy because the County’s school system is out of money?

Voters in Gilmer County are waiting for answers.

Comment by Voters Want Answers  on  03.14.2017

Amazing the “employee-buyoff-pocket” issue has not really been brought up before.

Have Gilmer tax dollars have been freely used to by WVBOE appointed and contracted Superintendent Devano to “purchase” much needed support?  Silence?

All staff under his control are well aware he is the axe man if instructions are not followed.  The entire school staff has been given the “secret warnings”.

Its well known locally that job threats have been made.  Of course silence, as well as secrets, total lack of information has been the mantra from intervention day one.

One hundred days and he’s gone?

Comment by Devano's Pocket Gang  on  03.14.2017

Let us get this straight. So big pay raises were given to employees in the GC board office?

When was the last time teachers and other workers in the school system got their raises?

Seems like a case of where you are and who you know instead of what you do which made Gilmer County famous.

Comment by Unbelievable Again!  on  03.15.2017

Does Gilmer County know the size of pay raises for your board office employees?

One or two percent or higher you ask? What about 10% and higher for some?

How much did Gilmer’s teachers and staffs get?
Zero is the answer.

Your teachers and staffs are overworked, under appreciated, and certainly under compensated with the money going to the top tier as usual.

That is WV for you.

Comment by Charleston WVDOE Staffer  on  03.16.2017

The flap about not enough class rooms at our new school is coming home to roost for the State.

What we have going now is a misinformation effort designed to convince citizens that by moving the 6th grade out of the GCES enough space would be freed up.

Not true by any means! Maybe moving out the 5th and 5th grades to the HS would do it.

It is true that closets at the new school were converted to class room space, some rooms have close to 40 students, and some students have to sit in the halls. Ask teachers to confirm.

Teachers were warned not to speak out with threats of punishment being held over them.

With everything finally out in the open what to do to clean up the State’s horrible mess is the question?

Comment by SOS From GCES Teachers  on  03.17.2017

These were not pay raises handed to the Gilmer office staff.  But sort of.

Devano called them “supplemental payments”.  The receiver knew well, either by direction, or innuendo, it was expected of them support or silence, whichever the situation calls for.

Some might refer to it as bribery or hush money.
It would be wonderful to hear these employees in a deposition. 

Wonder what stories will come out starting July 1?

Comment by just WVBOE continued bs  on  03.17.2017

July 1—-we will see panic and ship jumping in the board office.

We need a superintendent who will take a fresh look at staffing and pay with the strength of character to make necessary adjustments.

There will have to be major BO staff attitude adjustments too. The staff must revert to a support role instead of continuing to act like it exercises supreme authority over the County’s school board.

Comment by GCBOE Central Office Watcher  on  03.18.2017

The best way out of the GCES too small SNAFU is to get qualified outside experts to advise the County how to use space more efficiently to try to keep all our students out there.

That approach should be tried first instead of wasting valuable time fighting over the whole array of solutions being offered up.

Too much room for polarization, hard feelings, and hidden agendas designed for face saving if we don’t focus on the GCES as the top priority.

Comment by Look At GCES First For Space  on  03.18.2017

Someone who knows tell us many students the GCES was built for and how many are there now.

Reports are that the first number is 450 and the second one is close to 470. 470-450=20 should not be too difficult to figure out a way to work them in.

The enrollment could be kept down by not accepting more students from other counties and normal attrition would help out too.

Comment by Use Common Sense  on  03.18.2017

Comments about the BO prompt this posting.

The BO staff should cease its active PR campaign for what should be done to solve severe crowding at the GCES.

When the Cedar Creek school project was terminated after more of the County’s money was wasted, G. Devono informed the community that he, his BO staff, and Williams and Shriver had come up with plans for the GCES.

You see what that group got us to verify importance of the County’s school board to use its newly established full authority to decide on the best way out of the crowding quagmire.

It is to late obvious that if competent planning had occurred when the GCES was designed, kids out there would not be packed in like sardines, and teachers would not be facing the demoralizing conditions thrust on them.

Comment by Sam A. Wells  on  03.18.2017

The problem with the new elementary school crowding ALL belongs to Gabe Devano.

Clueless as a superintendent.  Like, NO experience.
Clueless as a construction consultant.  Again, NO experience.

Do not look to him for any solutions.
The cause of problems, never has the solution.

Hopefully his Gilmer County employment is nearing an end ?????

Comment by go GD go !  on  03.19.2017

Here is another one for the books. Results of studies have shown that when kids are crowded into classrooms air quality can go down and learning drops off. Why? Kids become drowsy.

How does this relate to the new GCES? We were told that the ultra modern school had monitors in the class rooms to measure air quality and when needed the HVAC system would kick in to adjust levels to be OK for proper learning.

That claim for automatic air quality adjustments turns out to be untrue.

Who was responsible for the mistake?

Cramming 40 kids into a class room is uncalled for in the first place and air quality problems resulting from it are another community concern for the new $14,000,000 school.

Another one for “you couldn’t make it up” chalk ups under State control.

Comment by GCES Outraged Parents  on  03.24.2017

So sensors in GCES class rooms are not hooked up to units to kick in to make foul air better for our kids?

What genius thought this idea up? The only one who profited from the deal was the person who sold sensors.

How much did this botch cost taxpayers? Probably no bid award of business to the seller to boot.

Comment by More Stick It To Taxpayers  on  03.24.2017

The community needs to know that employees at the GCES are warned not to talk about crowding.

OK, what other way is it supposed to be described?

Parents and teachers alike know that crowding is there and to try to hush it up sounds like good ole WV coverup.

On the same line of thinking if crowding is not there the best solution is to figure out a way to make the GCES’s space do and to live with it.

Comment by Lipstick On A Pig Still A Pig  on  03.30.2017

This is the common sense way out of the GCES crowding scandal.

Simply make do for awhile and don’t accept students from surrounding counties.

With our population decline and not taking in more outside students the situation would self correct.

Comment by Common Sense Solution  on  03.30.2017
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