Fayette school board offered return of partial control of school system

Ryan Quinn , Staff Writer

Following the state School Building Authority board’s vote last month to fund the first major projects of a consolidation plan that would drop the number of Fayette County’s public schools from 18 to 11, the West Virginia Board of Education voted Thursday to offer Fayette’s local school board a deal to receive back partial control of their local school system.

The return of partial control to Fayette’s locally elected school board members would take effect Feb. 6 — if the Fayette school board agrees to a memorandum of understanding with the state school board.

Under the description of the deal provided at Thursday’s meeting — the Gazette-Mail still doesn’t have a copy of the MOU — the Fayette board would receive back control over everything but the ability to replace their state-appointed superintendent, facilities or finances related to facilities.

Terry George, the state-appointed superintendent, said that to his understanding, the Fayette board will be required to keep him through June 2018, and he plans to reapply to the local board to work longer than that.

Before the SBA board voted to start funding Fayette’s consolidation plan — which the state school board and the SBA staff backed — SBA board member Tom Lange expressed a wish to ensure that Fayette actually followed through with the consolidation.

SBA staff took input from a committee of Fayette residents and Fayette school employees on the development of the consolidation plan, including hearing the committee’s curriculum wishes, but SBA staff didn’t ask the committee which specific schools should be closed before creating the plan.

The state school board took power away from Fayette’s school board in 2010.

Reach Ryan Quinn at ryan.quinn@wvgazettemail.com, facebook.com/ryanedwinquinn, 304-348-1254 or follow @RyanEQuinn on Twitter.