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Boso says rural counties hit hardest by formula underfunding

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Boso says rural counties hit hardest by formula underfunding
By Alex Wiederspiel, WV MetroNews

State Senator Greg Boso (R, Nicholas – 11) wants to see changes and corrections to the Department of Education’s School Aid Formula to make up for underfunding in rural counties – many of which he represents.

“The one thing that we’ve got to do very quickly is make sure that we get the Department of Education to modify their calculation efforts to make sure that we’re getting the appropriate funding,” Boso said on the MetroNews-affiliated “The Mike Queen Show” on the AJR News Network.

In total, the formula’s miscalculations cost 36 counties a total of $51.7 million, but Boso said rural counties struggle for every dollar, and that they were probably the hardest hit by underfunding on a proportaional scale.

The miscalculations cost rural Pocahontas County nearly $1.3 million in funding.

“When you talk about a county that’s rural in nature that desperately relies on the state funding in order to operate, that number is staggering,” he said.

Boso wants to make future accomodations for the counties who lost funding due to the miscalculations. According to Boso, these miscalculations cost Pocahontas County $1103 per student since 2009.

“I want it to be at the forefront with the Department of Education and within the respective committees within the House and the Senate,” he said.

In District 11–Boso’s home district–the formula underfunded six counties. He recognizes that there is no immediate solution, but that over a course of time they may be able to make up for lost funding.

“We can’t do it immediately, but I think there needs to be some dialogue so that over the course of the next several years we can make those counties whole,” he said.

For rural counties, transportation can be particularly expensive. Senator Boso hopes future changes in the formula reflect the issues facing rural counties.