GILMER COUNTY, W.Va. — Gilmer County has been given back partial control of the school system.

The West Virginia Board of Education Wednesday, due to recent improvements, gave the school system partial control in the areas of curriculum, policies, finance, transportation and the establishment and operation of a school calendar.

The Office of Education Performance Audits (OEPA) has recommended the state Board of Education to remain in control of personnel, facilities, and finance actions regarding facility expenditures.

“They want them to finish that consolidated school project and the cross county lines project,” said state schools Superintendent Jim Phares. “So they want them to remain under the control of the state board until those projects are done at minimum.”

In 2011, the state board took control of Gilmer County Schools after an OEPA report cited numerous issues.

“Board level issues, there were central office issues and some financial practices issues. Minor but still there enough to have smoke rolling off of it,” said Phares. “I think policies were out of whack and procedures weren’t being followed as they should.”

The OEPA also recommends that the state board establish an exit agreement so that the county can regain full control of the school system.

“I’m fully expecting that if Gilmer County continues to do what they’re doing that probably prior to December of 2014 or maybe shortly thereafter they’ll probably have full control if they continue to see the same progress that they’re seeing now,” Phares said.

Currently Grant, Fayette, Mingo and Preston counties are under state intervention.

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  • Route7Roar

    As a graduate of Gilmer County High School, I am saddened that the state had to take over the school system, but clearly changes needed to be made. Of course there are well intentioned teachers and administrators; however, there are also a lot of people who have never spent much time outside of West Virginia or even Gilmer County. It is a closed system there. Too much "good ole boys" network and not enough world vision and experience.

    My high school senior English class was still working on capitalizing the first letter of a sentence! One teacher in junior high just sat at the front of the class every day and read a romance novel, no joke. I certainly did have a few great teachers who encouraged me and provided as much challenge as they could.

    Thankfully I had a supportive family and a driven spirit to learn as much as I could in and out of the classroom. Having a successful career in a major US city now, I think "Wow, what a joke my K-12 education was" compared to my colleagues. We have hire individuals who are the best qualified in their field, not just because their last name is X and they need a job.

    I am certainly proud of my Appalachian heritage and my small town roots. However, some progress and higher standards need to come into the GC school system.

    For any Gilmer students reading this: you can do better. Read as much as you can; read newspapers from everywhere you can online, watch the news, ask questions. Learn to write and speak well. Take any trip you can. You are as good as any "big city" person out there. I have found that to be true. Don't be discouraged by those around or in authority above you. You can do it. I did.

  • wvu999

    Gilmer County has less than 145 employees and the superintendent makes $123,000 prob best job in the state.

  • John

    The State Board has been in control of Mingo County for 16 years and can't fix the problems. If the State Board can't fix problems in 16 years then WHY are they still intervening in other counties? Obviously they don't know what to do either.

  • State doesn't care!

    The state could care less about rural kids near Rosedale traveling an absurd distance to go to a consolidated Elementary school.

    Scores in Mingo County went down and they were released from state control because consolidation happened. Test scores in Fayette County have dropped during state take over. The state came in for take over within days after a bond failed in Fayette County.

  • Charles

    They take control just to consolidate. Period!!! Against citizens wishes. Big government knows best!!

  • Dale

    Whole system needs overhaul. WV does not need nor can we afford 55 Boards of Education.

    • stophating

      I continually hear this.... It's a great theoretical idea, but small county residents would never have a say in running schools, and would further remove local control.

    • Chris


  • I'm honest at least

    Way to go.....the state takes control to fix problems they created to begin with. What a mess our education system is in.