Martirano sends letter issuing ultimatum to Boone County School Board

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Martirano sends letter issuing ultimatum to Boone County School Board
By Matt Maccaro, WV MetroNews

State School Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano responded to the Boone County School Board Friday offering the board a chance to submit a realistic budget for Fiscal Year 2017, or else face potential repercussions.

Boone County Schools and the WV Dept. of Education are at odds over the budget after the board unanimously rejected a directive Thursday from the WVDE to make layoffs, as well as salary and benefit cuts.

The letter to new Boone Superintendent Jeff Huffman and school board president Mark Sumpter, recognizes that the county is facing a financial crisis due to circumstances largely beyond its control, but states that the budget submitted to the WVDE would not be sufficient to cover the 2016-2017 school year.

“By taking these actions, you have placed Boone County Schools in a precarious position,” Martirano wrote.

Martirano said that consequences of not complying with the directive could range from a loss of state aid to the county to a potential intervention by the state board of education.

He concluded the letter by essentially telling the school board to submit a “fiscally sufficient” budget to avoid those repercussions.

“As difficult as the decision is, I cannot ignore the economic realities faced by Boone County, and must act now upon my legal and moral obligation to ensure that the students of Boone County are in school and that teachers are paid for the entirety of the 2016-2017 school year,” the final paragraph read.

The school board voted 5-0 on Thursday to reject the WVDE directive.