Has Dr. Marple’s State Department of Education (DOE) Corrected Audit Deficiencies at The GCHS?
Gilmer County has wide support for an exit plan to be followed by Dr. Marple’s WVDOE to correct our school system’s deficiencies.
Adherence to a comprehensive, clearly understood plan would help ensure a more timely and efficient restoration of our schools to local control.
Under existing conditions the State has absolute authority to do as it pleases without any restrictions on when it gets done or how much it may cost.
If anyone questions need for an exit plan, Google WV OEPA and search the archives to access the State’s audit report for the County.
Interested citizens who have read the report have complained about its excessive ambiguity.
That communication failure by the State prevents citizens from being informed of specific remedial tasks which must be completed prior to restoration of our schools to local control.
Considering that most of the County’s students are enrolled at the GCHS it is assumed that a major proportion of the school system’s deficiencies were associated with that school’s administrative failures.
If the reasoning is valid, the State’s top priority should have been swift correction of the school’s deficiencies.
Samples of the deficiencies as understood from the State’s audit report are addressed below.
• There were hiring practice failures including use of erroneous or incomplete matrices required for comparing qualifications of applicants when new employees were hired, and there was nonuse of a seven point matrix, as required by the State, to document and compare qualifications of all applicants to promote merit-based hiring. For one posted position there were 12 applicants, and comparative qualifications information was compiled for only two of them.
• Incorrect job posting occurred for vacancies and this lack of adherence to the State’s requirements had potential to have prevented some qualified applicants from applying.
• There were teacher qualification deficiencies for Spanish, French, physics, chemistry, English, algebra, applied math, human anatomy, and journalism.
• Annual personnel evaluations as required by the State had not occurred.
• There were numerous administrative deficiencies involving coaches. These included hiring without fulfillment of legally required background checks, improper authorization of an explained nature, expired authorization, lack of performance evaluations, and failure to define responsibilities for vacancies to hinder compliance with required job descriptions.
Could the referenced deficiencies and others at the GCHS, as reported by the State, have occurred if its principal had performed satisfactorily?
Also, is it reasonable to conclude that serious administrative failures at the high school contributed heavily to the State’s decision to takeover our school system?
It would be informative to know what kind of performance evaluation was received by GCHS’s principal after deficiencies in the State’s audit report were reported.
Also, when the principal was evaluated, did Mr. Ron Blankenship make constructive recommendations for an improved job performance?
Perhaps Dr. W. K. Simmons could report on the status of performance evaluation concerns.
Because of the right for the County’s citizens to have access to accurate information, Dr. Marple should report on specific progress, if any, in eliminating deficiencies at the GCHS in addition to other school system deficiencies addressed in the State’s audit report.
To promote fairness and accuracy, if there are misinterpretations of information in the State’s audit report as referenced in this posting, Dr. Jorea Marple and Mr. Ron Blankenship are invited to submit corrections to the Gilmer Free Press.