CommunityConcerns™: With The State’s Seizure of Gilmer’s Schools Are We Any Better Off?
Soon, a year will have passed after the surprise seizure of our K-12 school system by Dr. Marple’s Department of Education (DOE).
Are we any better off as a result?
With the dearth of information provided to Gilmer County citizens they are left with question marks.
There are no regularly scheduled communications from the State to keep citizens informed of progress being made in removing school system deficiencies, and elected school board officials are purposely kept uninformed about the status of the State’s plans and progress.
As far is known, nothing has been accomplished which otherwise would not have been done had the State’s seizure not occurred.
The single exception seems to be Mr. Blankenship’s strident advocacy for school consolidation to be in lock step with the CEFP committee’s recommendations rendered by a small, select group.
His thrust for consolidation is unabated despite the fact that valid documentation for correlation between consolidation and educational outcomes is sorely lacking in our State.
What can we do about the mess?
Our option is to pressure politicians to demand that the school takeover is managed with use of a formal project management plan.
That is what is done in most situations in the private sector and elsewhere when time and budget constraints prevail.
The plan would include defining a goal to achieve by a specific date e. g., having a superior K-12 school system by 2014, designating specific tasks to complete to achieve the goal, prioritizing work on tasks to meet pre-stated targets, and having a project completion date for achieving the goal which in our case would include return of the County’s school system to local control.
With implementation of a formal project management plan there could be real-time tracking to ensure that all work is on schedule with full transparency and accountability.
Because the DOE does not apply a project management plan approach in counties where schools were seized, is it any mystery that the DOE’s “muddle through” system seems to prevail?
No real improvement but serious breach of hiring procedures. Overstaffed cooks yet understaffed for teachers. Hiring of privately paid, never a state employee, secretary on a full time basis when a state employed part time for years retires. Hiring and paying a Principal that never worked one day for months so he could reach retirement as a favor. No use of the certified substitute lists. Now Super B is trying to placate and convince us that everything will be just fine. Kind of like what you tell an animal before you have it put down. Just more good old boy, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours while those carrying the load are undermined and abused.
Comment by What System? on 05.30.2012
Cover-ups, cover-ups, and then more cover-ups!!
This how a state run system looks like: Cater few people and hell with the rest.
Has anyone counted how many of fine teachers at GCHS decided to retire? They just got tired of it.
Isn’t a huge turnover in any organization a sigh of poor management? Or that rule does not apply at GCHS?
Comment by we are sick of it on 05.30.2012
Did anyone hear about a kindergarten student at Glenville elementary bringing a gun to school last week?
Comment by anon. on 05.30.2012
Seems to me Blankenship need to hire real teachers in place of Technology Integration Specialists. We are short of teacher who can teach. We do not need TIS personnel who have shown to walk around and do nothing all day.
Comment by tb12 on 05.30.2012
Here are more coverups by GCHS:
Students using and passing drugs
Male students using their body fluids and rubbing it on girls
Comment by xstudent  on 05.30.2012
A grossly bloated state ed system with over 600 and we are guilty of the same thing. Putting favored in any position ahead of experience and qualifications. That’s what happened to Federal Revenue sharing funds back in the day and it carries on today. Put it in the pocket of the “approved”.
There is no procedure, no policy other than an antiquated good old boy system that is quickly putting Gilmer County people in last place on any list other than take over and consolidation.
When they eliminate the sovereign rule of the counties it will place the final stone in the wall separating the people from leadership. A puppet local government is kept in place to assure control of any appointed positions and it seems we as citizens are guilty of this by our own inaction. Silence or last minute attempts to create a caring appearance and make “peace” after the fact is what we get.
Comment by P. Lily on 05.30.2012
Seems like anytime there is something about the school system a lot of people comment and have very strong feelings about the situation. Why are these same people not at the board meetings asking Mr. Blankenship these questions to his face. The more people that are present, the harder it is for him to dodge questions and offer up non-answers to serious questions. I can’t believe the complacency in this county.
Come to the Gilmer County Vision meeting on Fri. and voice your opinion. Come to the Gilmer Schools Coalition meeting on Thurs., June 14 at the Holt House at 5:30. Come to the next scheduled BOE meeting and make your voices heard.
Not everyone reads the Free Press. Get off your computers and get out to these meetings and take a stand.
There is no time like the present…...
Comment by Rose on 05.30.2012
The parent/teacher meeting at Troy turned out to be a planning meeting for the new school with no public welcome and no questions to be asked. Just like at the Board of Ed meetings where any query must be pre-approved to get on the agenda which must happen for any business to possibly be conducted relative to that query. When is the Glenville Democrat editor going to stop supporting this administration whose only goal is to prevent transparency and public communication? You told him there would be no more bad press for the Bd Of Ed and it seems true as you keep putting out Blankenship’s misinformation. Same as the info on Governor’s funding of the waterline. He said he had it, you just printed it without even checking the facts, without question.
Comment by P. Lily on 05.30.2012
Well, I tried going to a meeting today - found out it was a “planning meeting” and not what had been advertised. Rose is right - more people need to be going to meetings and asking questions. And we need to find out why the Sunshine Laws are not being followed here with open meetings about everything to do with spending tax dollars! Come to the Holt House at 5 on the 14th of June so the Farm Bureau can meet at 7!!
Comment by Karen Pennebaker on 05.30.2012
Dendra, we have moved the Coalition meeting back to 5 pm due to another meeting scheduled later that evening at the Holt House. June 14 at 5pm.
Comment by Norma on 05.30.2012
Blankenship is doing exactly as ordered by his local handlers, and we all know who they are. They could care less about the truth, the democratic process, fair play, the unimpeded exchange of information, and what is best for our children. Their only interests are staying in power and accumulating more wealth. When Gilmer’s citizens won’t stand up for themselves they play into the hands of those in control and that won’t change because a hand full of patriots can’t do all the heavy lifting. What is needed in the County is a heavy duty injection of personal courage to cause citizens to do what is right the way our brave forefathers always did when confronted with tyranny, corruption, and heavy handed government.
Comment by Harrry Barnhard on 05.30.2012
Over the past 80 years or so, schools in Gilmer Co have been closed and consolidated. Back in the day every community had a school. As populations shifted and transportation became more available the need for the small school was less viable. This not only happens in GC but everywhere. We can debate whether small schools are best or not but school consolidation is nothing new and will always continue. Maybe most citizens in GC realize this is the next step in the evolution of education. From an economic standpoint it is responsible to consolidate even combining counties. While there will always be a few who will complain about this, I think most people realize it is just a reasonable process. It not an elite thing, it’s just a physically economic process. As a former student at GCHS I am so thankful the BOE had the courage to form GCHS. The students will love the new elementary school before the adults will ever buy into it.
Comment by Roy Jones on 05.31.2012
The people had a right to know that the engineers would be present and all have the right to questions and answers at this or any other public meeting required by law. The need to get out and attend these meetings is great. When we finally realize it is true, they expect us to just accept what we are told without question,regardless how serious the concern, maybe more will get angry enough to make phone calls, send e-mails or write a letter to R. Blankenship, J. Marple, C. Heinlein and the Governor questioning such poor treatment of taxpayers and the legality of these actions.
Comment by Just Do It on 05.31.2012
Mr. Jones are you living in Gilmer County now? If so, you have to be aware of why GC citizens are so against the school system as to how it is being controlled. You say the idea of it is not an “elite” thing, “YES it is” and we can name the blame on how, who, why, when and what for. The County Commission gave away our 911 Center to Lewis County several years ago and now they are giving our students and school to Lewis Co. What will be next? Maybe we could give them Nasia Butcher and Gerry Hough if we wrap them in a pretty bow.
Now for the school corruption. Butchers, Morris’s, Hough, Metz, Manchins, Marple, McGraw, Tomblin, Chapman, Kennedys and others are all together. Money for the Lewis/Gilmer school we get to help pay, what do we get in return, nothing. We pay 1/2 we get a big fat 0. Jobs will go to Lewis Co. taxes will go to Lewis Co. control will go to Lewis Co, Troy students and part of Sand Fork students will go to Lewis Co. And Gilmer is going to ____!! The property that the county Elementary school was to be built on, guess who controlled that? Butchers are the Auction Barn property owners, the Arbuckle property, Butchers is the trustee of it. Why do you think theyare mad that the one county school was not funded. It will be next year.
What year did you go to GCHS? Had to be years ago before the elites took over. Take a survey and find out how many people want Nashia Butcher out as principal of GCHS because of her lack of morals, good ethics,common sense, ability to do what is right for all regardless of what your name is and make students accountable for their wrong doings and her lack of being a proper role model. But whatever she does and whoever she does it to, she is protected by her buddies. Again, Gilmer got the shaft. Have you heard that there are several families leaving this county because of the corruption. It is not a big beautiful new school we need, we need equality, fairness and justice for ALL. And all need to make decisions not the select few in control. This is what the people of this county is upset about. We have no say at all.
Comment by Do you want to live here?? on 05.31.2012
These are elementary school children. Adjusting to longer travel, new location, different teachers and their mannerisms plus meeting and making new friends will require a big adjustment and a transition period before they can settle into the educational routine. Connections with their Gilmer County school friends will have to go on the back burner. What happens when they are ready for high school? Will they come back to Gilmer County and leave those new Lewis County friends and just adjust once more or will we lose on that front as well? I find this plan poorly thought out and even more poorly executed. The last thing administration thought about was what was in the best interest of Gilmer County children.
Comment by Not So Fast on 06.01.2012
The State’s taking over our school system with pressuring from the CUBE group is one thing, but the disrespectful way Blankenship treats citizens is another. He will not answer questions, everything is kept secret from the public, and he is outright rude to citizens. He is on the taxpayers’ payroll and what he does is totally uncalled for. He gets by with it because we permit him to do it by not standing up and taking our cause to Charleston. Blankenship came here to protect the GCHS principal, be a handmaiden to the State in getting a combined school, and to enable the wealthy to sell land. The welfare of our children are not his concern and that is pure and simple.
Comment by G. Riddle on 06.01.2012
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