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Randolph superintendent picked to lead Fayette County schools

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Randolph superintendent picked to lead Fayette County schools
By Ryan Quinn, The Charleston Gazette

Randolph County Schools Superintendent Terry George will take the same position in Fayette County on July 1, officials said Tuesday, days after Fayette voters rejected a bond sale that could’ve generated more than $60 million to help build, renovate and consolidate schools.State Schools Superintendent Michael Martirano named George to the Fayette post on Tuesday, according to a news release from the state Department of Education.

“I will strive to serve the students, educators and citizens of Fayette County to the best of my abilities,” George said in the release. George began his career in Randolph schools in 1979. He taught social studies at Elkins Middle School and Elkins High School, and served as Elkins Middle’s assistant principal and principal at North Elementary School in Elkins. He became Randolph County’s assistant superintendent in 2006, became interim superintendent in 2012 and superintendent in 2013.

The department’s release, sent out late Tuesday, didn’t say how much George will be paid in his new role. He made about $100,000 this school year, and was to see his pay increase to $106,000 over the next two years, according to the department’s data.

Betty Jo Jordan, Martirano’s executive assistant, said Monday the new Fayette superintendent would recommend how the county should move forward in the wake of the failed bond proposal, which was opposed by 62 percent of the over 7,500 ballots cast.

Slightly over a quarter of voters showed up to the polls. Jordan said Fayette wouldn’t know its next steps until the new leader took charge.

In an attempt to solve Fayette’s persistent issues in academics, facilities and other areas, the state school board took over control of county schools in 2010, the year after the last failed bond attempt. Current Fayette Superintendent Serena Starcher, who received praise from bond supporters at past state school board meetings, is returning to her longtime assistant superintendent role.

The $38.9 million in bond debt voted down Saturday could have allowed the county to fund a new Collins Middle School — where Martirano ordered the seventh- and eighth-grade building closed in January because of structural issues, sending about 400 students to county high schools. The bond would have provided portable classrooms to allow the displaced students to return while construction progressed.

The millions from bonds would’ve been supplemented by at least $2.5 million in local funds and up to $25.1 million in state School Building Authority money.

On Monday, Scott Raines, the SBA’s architectural services director, called the bond election’s failure “unfortunate,” and said he can’t imagine the SBA’s voting members providing money to Fayette in the wake of the vote.