Allegations grow over mismanagement in Logan County schools

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Allegations grow over mismanagement in Logan County schools
By Chris Lawrence, WV MetroNews

Allegations of misspending of Logan County school funds on wedding paraphernalia may only be the tip of the iceberg.  Logan County School Board President Paul Hardesty confirmed the purchase of the questionable items during Monday’s MetroNews Talkline.

“They were purchased at the Logan County Board of Education.  They were purchased with the sate P-Card. Most, if not all of those decorations, are housed in a closet at Chapmanville Middle School,” he said. “In looking at the purchase order it says they were purchased for the band department at Chapmanville Middle School.  I know of no reason a band department would purchase colonnades, urns, pedestals, and items used with respect to a wedding for the band department. It doesn’t make any sense.”

It’s the latest in a long list of allegations of questionable spending which have come to Hardesty’s attention since he returned to the school board after an 18 year hiatus.  Hardesty was elected to the board in May after previously serving in the 1990’s.  He said on Talkline Monday since being elected, he’s heard many  things which trouble him.

“They call and tell you something and you hope and pray what they are telling you is not accurate,” he said. “I can tell you on many occasions, stuff they’ve called and told me when we research it and give it to the proper authorities, it is accurate.”

The Board of Education is under investigation by the Legislative Commission on Special Investigations.  Hardesty confirmed the probe, but also indicated it started in winter of 2015, more than a year before the present board was elected and seated.

“I would wish in a perfect world they would come and say all these allegations are false and we get back to what we should be doing and that’s educating kids,” Hardesty said. “But I’ll be real honest with you, I just don’t think that’s going to be the case.”

The board is in the process of looking for a new Superintendent.  Former Superintendent Phyllis Doty abruptly announced her retirement last week amid the swirling allegations of misspending of county school money.   Doty had just signed a four-year contract extension, but under an agreement the Board of Education accepted her retirement and bought out sixty days of her contract.

The school board appointed Suzette Cook on an interim basis to fill Doty’s spot a Monday night meeting.