State BOE votes to seize control of Boone County system

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State BOE votes to seize control of Boone County system
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

The state Board of Education voted Thursday to seize control of the Boone County school system on Monday unless the county’s board of education approves a balanced budget before then.

The move was recommended by state School Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano who said he could not in good conscience approve a budget that doesn’t guarantee full funding for Boone County school workers and full funding for student instruction for the entirety of the current budget year.

“We cannot ignore the economic realities faced by Boone County, and we must act now to ensure the students of Boone County are in school are teachers are paid for the entirety of the 2016-2017 school year,” Martirano said.

The Boone County school system has lost more than $10 million in tax revenue from coal during the past year and the local school board has cut its budget including layoffs and the closings of schools but it’s not enough, Martirano said.

The approved budget was $7 million short and money would run out next spring, Martirano said.

The Boone board rejected two sets of directives from Martirano including cuts in supplemental salary and vision and dental insurance benefits along with other measures.

State board members said Thursday the Boone board has left them no other choice.

“The State Board has no desire to intervene in Boone County,” said State Board of Education President Mike Green in a news release. “The Boone County Board of Education left the State Board with no other option but to intervene to provide a mechanism that allows for a full instructional term for our students and ensures sufficient funds to pay employees for the entire school year.”

Green and other board members are urging the Boone County School Board to hold a special meeting between before Monday and pass a balanced budget.