May 31, 2012 - Volume 32 Issue 20



A delegation of county boards of education members lead by Barbara Parsons, Ed.D. (Monongalia) will present the West Virginia School Board Association’s proposed Standards for High-Functioning County Boards at the state Board of Education’s June 9 meeting in Charleston.

The Standards were placed on a 31-day comment period which concluded March 31, 2012. For a copy of the standards and to comment on them, visit the association’s website:

The proposed  standards were developed as a result of the work of a broad-based committee comprised of county board members, superintendents, educators, representatives of various public school organizations, including employee groups, and legislators.

For more information, please contact O’Cull. His preferred contact information is or you may telephone him at 304-346-0571 (work)  or 304-549-9463 (cellphone).


The West Virginia School Board Association’s Orientation ’12 will be held June 25-27 at the Waterfront Hotel in Morgantown. This is the 11th such program scheduled since legislation requiring training passed in the form of Senate Bill 1 in 1990.

“We have one of the most comprehensive orientation programs in the nation and the only one in which members must receive orientation to be seated in office,” WVSBA Executive Director Howard O’Cull said.

The tentative program, which will be presented to the state Board of Education at its June 9 meeting in Charleston, is based largely on past orientations, including training relating to school law, school finance, school board procedural issues, leadership and governance.

Most orientation documents will be placed on the Association’s website – That includes a video-format training module, which is integral to the orientation program.

O’Cull said veteran members and county superintendents are encouraged to attend the program.

“We always have a good-sized contingent of veteran members and superintendents who attend,” O’Cull said. “They give good dimension and depth to the program.”

The WVSBA will develop a model policy for local orientation – a matter discussed in the recent education efficiency audit of Harrison County Schools, he said.

“This finding is prescient for all counties,” O’Cull said.


The West Virginia School Board Association sponsored a second stand-alone meeting of county boards of education that are under state Board of Education intervention. The session was held April 27 and 28 at Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, W.Va.

Working both in a large group and by individual county boards, board members and county superintendents discussed various questions regarding intervention.

Nineteen board members attended the meeting along with four superintendents and state Board of Education members Priscilla Haden, Lloyd Jackson and William White, Ph.D.

As part of the large group discussion, county board members expressed a desire to have greater means of communication from the state Department of Education about the status of their counties, particularly in terms of communications, development of end-strategies to address state Office of Education Performance Audits, and greater assurance of Education Department technical assistance.

As part of the discussions, it was suggested the state board should develop a policy regarding communications with takeover county boards.

In his work with the boards, WVSBA Executive Director Howard M. O’Cull, Ed.D., laid out various leadership roles county boards could assume under takeover, including monitoring and oversight procedures relative to intervention timelines, and Education Department accomplishments, development of missions and goals relative to transition from takeover, including an emphasis on vision, mission and goal-setting, use of an annual calendar to review various efforts relative to takeover timelines and specified training and development, which would address reasons for initial takeovers. He said that is critical considering that some takeovers occurred almost a decade ago, and it is necessary to take the attitude of looking toward the future with accountability in mind rather than “dwelling on the past.”

Joe Frontiera of Meno Consulting discussed team turnarounds. He echoed many things outlined by O’Cull, particularly relative to looking toward the future rather than on the “whys” of takeovers.

The group-suggested ideas will be discussed at WVSBA Conference ’12 to be held September 14 and 15 in Charleston.

The state’s six takeover counties include the Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, McDowell, Mingo and Preston.


The West Virginia School Board Association Executive Board will assess the degree to which its various legislative proposals fared during the 2012 Regular Session at a board retreat meeting to be held in mid-summer. 

During that meeting, the Executive Board will determine goals and goal evaluation strategies for FY13, review FY12 programming and study matters such as association finances, programming and other initiatives, according to Sis Murray (Marion), WVSBA president.

The agenda for the meeting will be posted in advance on the association’s website –

“We will make a comprehensive review of how our legislative items were received by the Legislature,” Howard M. O’Cull, Ed.D., WVSBA Executive Director, said.

The legislative recommendations are listed below.

  • Statewide Education Audit. The association will actively consider the importance and relevance of findings of the education efficiency audit spearheaded by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, especially proposed legislation that may pertain to county boards of education, including central office staffing configurations, the effectiveness of service provision by Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs), and a likely review of educational edits, rules and regulations that might affect local educational initiatives.
  • School Dropout Prevention. WVSBA lauds efforts of the Legislature, state Board of Education, judicial officials and others, including county boards, who are working to address issues relative to high school completion, truancy, and college readiness. Accordingly, WVSBA promotes continued initiatives in these areas particularly as involving county and citizen organizations locally.
  • School Innovation Zones. The association supports continued initiatives to promote School Innovation Zones (IZs), especially initiatives that will result in recognition of the need to provide greater flexibility to schools and school districts.
  • Compensation for County Boards of Education Members. WVSBA supports a modest increase in the per-meeting compensation for county boards of education members, increasing the compensation from $160 to $200 per meeting. Additionally, the organization supports county boards of education members receiving $200 “per day” for participating in training sessions as required by W. Va. Code §18-5-1a. Additionally, members would receive $200 in compensation for participating in meetings such as Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) sessions. No state funds would be expended in provision of this compensation increase. It should be noted county boards of education members last received an increase in compensation in 2001 – more than a decade ago. The legislation is contained in House Bill 4073 and Senate Bill 328. Here are links to the those bills: (House bill) and (Senate bill)