State school board votes for Boone takeover

Ryan Quinn , Staff Writer

West Virginia Board of Education members voted today to have the state Department of Education take control of the Boone County school system, after county officials twice voted not to agree to severe budget cuts mandated by the state.

State school board members voted 6-1 to have the state take over the system. Board member Tom Campbell of Greenbrier County was the only dissenting vote.

“Board members, I see no other option,” State Schools Superintendent Michael Martirano said before today’s vote.

Martirano’s ordered cuts would have included cutting thousands of dollars in pay for each employee and eliminating employer-paid vision and dental insurance coverage.

The state education department has said the budget Boone school officials submitted for the 2016-17 fiscal year undershot and overshot expected revenue and expenses for various items, in some cases by hundreds of thousands of dollars, and would run out of money to fund expenses as early as April 2017.

Before today’s vote, state school board member Lloyd Jackson of Lincoln County criticized Boone school officials for spending down the county school system’s reserves. Jackson said county board members let employees down.

On Wednesday, state school board members deliberated about Boone County’s situation for hours without coming to a decision.