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WV Legislative Update

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I don’t know what happened to the legendary bright, blue weather of October, but it certainly missed us for most of the month.  The record-setting wet weather continues as the slips, slides and delays continue to plague road and highway repairs with the construction season length being still in doubt.

The much anticipated Tamarack conference center meeting of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education was held last Friday.  Unfortunately, it went as expected, with Glenville State being steamrolled by all the other regional institutions.  As legislative members are deemed advisory members and unable to vote, the voting commission members voted to move forward a proposal that would allocate $10 million in new funding they are hoping to receive from the Legislature.  The commission’s finance subcommittee came up with a formula that allocates this funding based on full-time, in-state students.  Quite simply, this formula is based on the opportunity to bring each school to “equity” in per student funding.  However, it fails to take other factors into play.

I want to thank HEPC Chancellor Dr. Mike Ferrell for his voting in opposition to this unfair plan to single out GSC.  Likewise, WVEA President Dale Lee gave a blistering response and abstained from voting.  I think the statewide press covering the meeting provided a good overview of the proceedings, noting the wide disparity in funding.  For instance, Bluefield State College has approximately one hundred more students than GSC.  However, Bluefield would receive over a half million dollars more than GSC ($553,000 versus $40,000).  If you think that’s a misprint, it isn’t.  GSC was only proposed to receive $40,000 in additional funds out of $10 million divided among nine regional colleges and universities.  Marshall, WVU and WVU Tech were not included (by choice) in this round of proposed funding.

Here is the breakdown:

GSC                   $40,000
Concord               $1,625,000
WV State               $860,000
West Liberty           $1,015,000
Bluefield State         $553,000
Shepherd             $2,500,000
Fairmont               $3,047,000
Total                   $10,000,000

My bottom line with this “recalibration” proposal: GSC is in line to get less than one-half percent of the $10 million total.  Unacceptable and unfair.  Every other school raised tuition over the past two years.  GSC did not and sacrificed internally for two years of a tuition freeze for the benefit of students and parents.

A better, more equitable way to determine adequate funding may be to calculate what percentage of the State allocation makes up the total college or university budget.  For instance, a small, rural school like GSC received $5.6 million in funds from the state budget for the current fiscal year.  That amount makes up a large percentage of the total budget of GSC.  Compare that figure to Shepherd University or Fairmont.  No doubt their state allocation is a much smaller percentage of their overall budget.  The numbers of out-of-state students, private fundraising, tuition increases, local economy, etc. all contribute to the overall budget.  I hope to have some solid figures in the coming days to help make this point.

Ultimately, the Commission will issue their report and recommendations to Governor Justice in mid-December.  While I do not have a vote on this commission, I certainly will be sharing facts, figures and my opinions with the Governor and other legislators.  The Governor made it clear in establishing the commission that he wanted it to come up with a plan to retain all schools.  However, with the decision of the last week by the commission on funding, there is big differences between making certain our schools thrive – not just survive.

So, all hands on deck in the coming weeks.  This is too important to leave to chance.  Meanwhile, I’ll continue to be forceful and vocal in defense of GSC or any other institution that is being dealt with in such an unfair and potentially damaging manner.

Finally, a reminder that early voting is now underway through the Saturday prior to the November 6th General Election.  I’m getting increasing reports of citizens showing up for early voting, only to discover that the WV Secretary of State’s office has statewide purged thousands of voters from the rolls because they haven’t voted in several consecutive election cycles.

Also, remember that voters now need a form of identification when early voting or at your regular voting location on Election Day.  Don’t forget to have ID with you with you when heading to the polls.  One of the foundations of our democracy and one of our most precious freedoms is the right to vote.  Regardless of the candidates you choose, go vote.

Please send your inquiries to my home office:  151 Park Street, Gassaway, WV 26624.  My home number is 304.364.8411; the Capitol office number is 304.340.3142.  If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know.  For those with Internet access, my legislative e-mail address is:

You may also obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and leave me a message on the Legislature’s web site at www.legis.state.wv.us/.  When leaving a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional information, including agency links and the state government phone directory, may be found at www.wv.gov. Also, you may follow me on Facebook at “Brent Boggs”, Twitter at “@DelBrentBoggs” , as well as the WV Legislature’s Facebook page at “West Virginia Legislature” or on Twitter at twitter.com/wvlegislature.

Continue to remember our troops - at home and abroad - and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  Until next week – take care.

GSC’s present plight is no secret and its future existence is in question.

Instead of expressing attitudes that GSC is being picked on could the Blue Ribbon Commission reveal why the College “tested out” as it did to fail to get more State money?

Was the “grading system” based on student enrollment trends, retention, time taken to get a degree, academic reputation, inept governance and administration, and other factors to block more funding? Informative specifics were not disclosed.

Teachers know that concerned students who want to do better always seek advice on what needs to be done to get better grades.

Similar to concerned students GSC’s supporters should be informed of what needs to be done to position the College for improved chances for survival to include eligibility for more State funding.

Saying that GSC is being picked on does nothing to help solve its nagging problems.

Comment by What Was The Grading System?  on  10.30.2018

What is GSC’s BOG’s plan for getting money for the next payment on the $38,000,000 bond loan the Gilmer County Commission approved?

Will the State pay or will the money come from private donations?

Money will have to come from somewhere to avoid a default.

Comment by Where Is The Money?  on  11.05.2018

It’s long been known that Justice doesn’t happen in Gilmer County “because it all comes down to money”. And for those in charge of handling it and making decisions, it comes down to being competent to do the job,  keep accurate books and accounts and I’m sorry to say, that is seriously lacking in Gilmer County.

Comment by Follow the Paycheck(s)  on  11.06.2018

It is obvious that the GCES has a major space problem.

What options for dealing with the State’s mismanagement to cause the serious blunder are being considered by the Board of Education?

Could the original architectural design for the dropped Cedar Creek site be compared to what resulted at the GCES to accurately determine the extent of classroom space alterations?

If the architectural design at the GCES is different than the original plan for Cedar Creek the next step should be to determine reasons for the changes and where the money originally planned for needed classrooms went.

Comment by INFO REQUEST TO GCBOE  on  11.09.2018

While at it there should be an investigation of why the LES was build with too many classrooms and the GCES was built with too few. At the very least what happened is a WV horror story example of the State’s waste and mismanagement.

Comment by Where Is The Investigation?  on  11.11.2018

There are two views in the County related to the under built GCES. Although the State built the school with inadequate classrooms one group believes that we should move on to let go of the past.

Isn’t this a form of advocacy for a coverup to prevent accountability for the State’s incompetence and mismanagement?

The other group believes that there should be a full accounting for all public money spent up to the time the GCES was completed to include disclosure of recipients of the public money. 

The accounting should be done for all public money spent at the LCES, the Arbuckle site, Cedar Creek, and finally the GCES.

Reasons for the under built GCES should be fully disclosed too. When the State was in control this information was kept secret from the public with loud claims that there was adequate space at the GCES.

Now it is known that there is inadequate space at the GCES and the problem is left to Gilmer County to fix. Only in WV!

Comment by Citizens For Financial Disclosure  on  11.14.2018

Notice that most of the ‘officials’ in Gilmer County also hold regular day jobs - sometimes working on more than one paying ‘job’ at a time in the same office space. This common practice is concerning for many reasons, and it needs to be talked about when so many go without.

Comment by QuestionablePractice  on  11.14.2018

It is assumed that all records for spending to include money paid out for the LCES, dropped Arbuckle site, dropped Cedar Creek site, and all bills for the GCES are in the Gilmer Schools central office.

The new GCBOE has authority to get to the truth by demanding a thorough accounting for all the spending.

Afterwards the financial officer in the central office could easily access existing computerized records and to use the information for a report to the GCBOE and the public.

Comment by Do It Ourselves  on  11.15.2018

If it is going to cost extra money to eliminate over crowding at the GCES the financial information referenced by Do It Ourselves should be presented to Charleston and the press too.

That would help frame a solid case that crowding problems were not caused by Gilmer County because all decisions related to facilities were dictated by officials over whom the County had no oversight authority during the State’s intervention.

Comment by Follow The Money  on  11.16.2018

GCBOE when the two principals give reports at board meeting could the gist of what they said be summarized in minutes to keep the County informed?

It was a welcomed development by the Board to require principals to give reports particularly if there are required updates on progress designed to improve student learning for reading, math, and other subjects.

We still have not been informed about the status of science proficiency at the GCHS based on the latest testing. Why has the State failed to release the data? Were results too dismal?

Comment by More Specifics For Principal's Reports  on  11.17.2018

There will never be a full, public accounting of the gross mishandling of tax dollars during WVDOE intervention.
Too many local jobs and too many embarrassments of both elected and appointed bureaucrats.
These types cover dirt for each other.

Any local whistle blowers?  Doubtful.

One school built short 4 classrooms and another built with 5 too many.  Can it get more stupid than that?
Mr. Degree and Ms. Common Sense seldom travel together.

Comment by Full accounting will never be revealed. Never.  on  11.18.2018

Teachers and staff knew from the beginning that the GCES was going to be too small. They were ordered by the State to keep quiet about the shortfall and other serious concerns too.

A sixth grader could understood how many rooms were needed by dividing total student numbers to attend the school by how many students should be in a classroom.

Under sizing was the State’s fault and it cannot be rationalized any other way including to assign the blame to local people. Same applies to the over sized LCES.

Comment by Corrupt State Intervention  on  11.19.2018

Yes.  The blame Does seem to fall to ‘local’ people. In small places like Gilmer County, it’s just a poker game, boys, and the deep pockets win.  Money speaks volumes where ‘officials’ stay silent.  Go ask for the records, see what they’ve got.

Comment by CheatersNeverWin  on  11.20.2018

Hasn’t the time come to finally start naming names and making people accountable?

Comment by Get It Done  on  11.21.2018

If central office financial records for all public money paid out for everything from site planning, site studies and development, and everything else to get to completion of the GCES and the LES—- what is the reason?

It is known that money was spent on the Arbuckle site and Cedar Creek, and public money was paid out for the LES too.

Were County records for the spending purged and if that happened who ordered the action? The records are either in the County’s central office or they aren’t.

Comment by End Financial Secrecy  on  11.21.2018

A thorough accounting for where all the public money went could be easily achieved by a competent accountant.

Isn’t there a special account at the County’s school board office for expenditures related to all bills paid and who got the money?

Following the money trail always gets results along with verification of means, motives, and access.

Comment by Let An Accountant Dig It Out  on  11.21.2018
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