State Board of Education returns full control to Fayette County

By Alex Wiederspiel in News
FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — The West Virginia State Board of Education voted Thursday to return local control of schools to Fayette County, effectively removing the state Board’s control from the only remaining state-run school system.

The Board of Education’s vote was unanimous.

“It means that our local Board, who has worked very hard to address the issues that were in the OEPA audit from 2010, addressed those,” Fayette County School Superintendent Terry George said. “Our local Board has worked hard to bring change to our county.”

The Board’s vote will be ratified once the Fayette County Board of Education drafts a Memorandum of Understanding that is signed by both the local Board of Education and the Department of Education.

Upon completion of that MOU, attention will be turned to George’s future. He was appointed by the State Board of Education in 2015 when the State BoE retained full control in Fayette County. His contract expires in June 30, but George said he wants to be a part of the changes coming in Fayette County.

“I hope to,” he said. “I enjoy the people in Fayette County. I believe in the plan that was developed, and I would certainly like to stay with them and see it progress.”

Part of that plan is the overhaul, renovation, rebuilding, and eventual consolidation of a number of school facilities in Fayette County.

“We are looking forward to moving and progressing with our new CEFP, developing and renovating our new schools, and to provide structures and facilities where our students can receive a quality education,” George said.

The School Building Authority voted late last year to provide Fayette County with $12.6 million dollars in funding to begin overhauling decaying school infrastructure.

George said the Fayette County Board of Education is committed to the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan (CEFP) drafted and adopted last year in spite of some concerns from residents in the Meadow Bridge community.

“I think that it will demonstrate a great deal of confidence in Fayette County that our local Board will be making that decision,” George said.

George said the Fayette County Board of Education is now focusing on education specifics for two new schools as part of the CEFP and renovation projects for Oak Hill High School and Midland Trail High School.

He expects bidding for those projects to begin near the end of 2017.