WVSBA

March 8, 2019 - Volume 39 Issue 9

WVSBA News

The West Virginia School Board Association will hold a series of regional training sessions during the remainder of the fiscal year.

In addition to discussions of legislation adopted during the West Virginia Legislature’s 2019 Regular Session, regional meeting participants will engage in a structured dialogue session regarding consolidation  of county school districts. “This is a ‘live’ issue,” according to West Virginia School Board Association Executive Director Howard M. O’Cull, Ed.D.

O’Cull pointed to Senate Education’s adoption of Senate  Concurrent Resolution 60 which would initiate a study of the issue of merging school districts. As part of the proposal legislators may consider the feasibility of establishing 17 school districts framed around the state’s 17 senatorial districts. The resolution also proposes possibly  studying a reduction of the number of school board members from five to four. Cross-county student transfers could be studied as well as the title (and positional role) of the state superintendent of schools who would become secretary of schools. Mention is made a differing role for the state Board of Education.

At the March 7 Senate Education meeting no comments were received from public education stakeholders.

There was little discussion regarding the resolution.

School system consolidation garnering growing interest

Regarding the Resolution, O’Cull said “school district consolidation is a matter of growing interest to an array of folks from academicians to politicians and to those individuals and groups who advocate efficiencies in government.”

“Most of the proposed models may not prove palatable to the public – public sentiment is  the key. I believe West Virginia citizens want a framework for local schools that accentuates accessibility, including locality of central offices,” said O’Cull. He, however, contends that sentiment does not absolve county boards from investigating “all aspects of this question. It is not going away.”

“As an organization we must be provide the bulk of input into these discussions, given the fact it is better to be at the table than on the menu,” said O’Cull.

Other training topics

Other training topics relate to discussions of legal matters affecting county boards of education, effective county board/county superintendent relations and matters of regional interest, according to O’Cull.

Listed below is the schedule of regional meetings:

WVSBA Regional Meetings ‘19

March 20, 2019
Chief Logan Conference Center, Logan
Boone, Cabell, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo, Putnam, Wayne

April 2, 2019
WVUP, Parkersburg
Calhoun, Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Wirt, Wood

April 25, 2019
Canaan Valley Conference Center, Davis
Barbour, Doddridge, Gilmer, Harrison, Lewis, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker, Upshur

May 2, 2019
South Branch Inn, Romney
Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral, Pendleton

May 9, 2019
Summersville Convention Center, Summersville
Braxton, Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Summers, Webster, Wyoming

May 21, 2019
Oglebay Resort Conference Center, Wheeling
Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, Wetzel

June 6, 2019
Cacapon Resort Conference Center, Berkeley Springs
Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 60

(By Senators Rucker, Blair, Azinger, Cline, Maynard, Roberts, and Trump)

[Originating in the Committee on Education; Reported on March 8, 2019]

 

Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance study the need for a new model of providing a thorough and efficient system of free schools in West Virginia.

Whereas, According to the National Center for Education Statistics, total student enrollment in West Virginia has dropped more than 22 percent from 351,837 during the 1986-1987 school year to 273,855 during the 2016-2017 school year; and

Whereas, Data from the West Virginia Department of Education shows that enrollments are continuing to decline, indicating a total headcount enrollment for this school year of 265,755; and

Whereas, Data from the West Virginia Department of Education indicates that county school district size can vary greatly, from a high of 25,668 students in Kanawha County to a low of 809 students in Gilmer County; and

Whereas, Data from the West Virginia Department of Education indicates that during the current school year, there are 11 county school districts with less than 1,400 in FTE enrollment; and

Whereas, With the statewide declines in student enrollment continuing to occur, more county school districts could fall within the “under 1,400 in student enrollment” category in the future; and

Whereas, The Legislature in the past has attempted to address the financial struggles of low-enrollment counties by creating a statutory formula for giving those counties with less than 1,400 in net enrollment credit for more students than are actually enrolled in the county for state aid funding purposes; and

Whereas, Merging smaller school districts could result in much more administrative efficiency than simply the sharing of services between the counties and could result in focusing more resources on the school and classroom levels; therefore, be it

Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:

Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance study the need for a new model of providing a thorough and efficient system of free schools in West Virginia; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the study include changes that may require amendments to the state constitution.  The study may include consideration of changes such as: Reducing the number of school districts to 17 with each school district having an equal number of residents and being similar to existing Senate districts; allowing district boundaries to be negotiated between adjoining school districts; reducing the number of school district board members to four; changing the State Superintendent to the Secretary of Schools; and changing the makeup of the West Virginia Board of Education; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the regular session of the Legislature, 2020, on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report, and to draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.

 

 

As required by legislation adopted several years ago, county boards are required to conduct a performance appraisal.

Performance appraisal responses are anonymous. Results are tabulated by an external organization.

When corporate results are shared with a county board, the board may use results for goal-setting, planning and for other evaluative purposes, according to West Virginia School Board Association Executive Director Howard M. O’Cull, Ed.D.

For more information contact O’Cull – hocull@wvsba.org