Fayette superintendent to share proposed reconfiguration plan Thursday
By Sarah Plummer, The Register-Herald
Residents, many of whom are parents, will finally get details Thursday about how the school district plans to improve conditions, education and finances in Fayette County.
Fayette Superintendent Terry George said he will unveil his proposed reconfiguration plans for Fayette County Schools at 6 p.m. Thursday at Midland Trail High School.
Fayette has been under state control since 2010, and any plans must be approved by State Superintendent Michael Martirano and the State Board of Education.
This announcement has come just one week after the State Board of Education Finance Committee reviewed Fayette's finances.
At that time, WVDE Chief Operations Officer Joe Panetta said the district's finances fell in line with other counties of similar budget size and population. Where Fayette differs from other counties is the average number of students per number of elementary and high schools. The county has a slightly higher number of elementary students to elementary schools compared to state average, but a much lower than average number of high school students to high schools, he said.
“The average number of high school students in Fayette County per school is 398. The state average is 690. To me, this is a telling sign. Fayette is 292 students under the state average and operates five high schools, as compared to many counties, like Pocahontas, that only operates one school,” he said.
Fayette County had 6,788 students enrolled last year and at least 50 families have already requested students transfer this year, confirmed George.
On June 13, a bond that would have consolidated Meadow Bridge, Fayetteville and Midland Trail high schools at Midland Trail was voted down by 61.9 percent.
In addition to renovations to some existing schools and a football field at Valley High, the $38.9 million bond was intended to be used to rebuild Collins Middle School, which has several structures on campus condemned since January 2015.
About 400 Collins students are still displaced and divided between Fayetteville and Oak Hill high schools, and many parents are still clamoring for solutions to the crises.
After a countywide structural inspection early last year, one room at Mount Hope Elementary and the second story of Meadow Bridge High School were also deemed unsafe for habitation.
The bond would have increased property taxes in the county and would have been used to vie for School Building Authority funding.
Panetta said about 43 of West Virginia's 55 counties have an excess levy, which provides monetary support for schools, police departments, fire departments and libraries.
Of those 43, only about 20 are paying at 100 percent levy capacity. Fayette County does have a 100 percent levy.