CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Senate has approved the first bill of what will be a series of legislative actions which enable the Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Jackson County to become a privately run entity.
The current legislation removes the requirement that employees at Cedar Lakes are paid under the pay schedule of the Department of Education. The Department of Education has run the facility for 63 years. It was originally established as an educational camp for the Future Farmers of America and the Future Homemakers of America. It’s become an attraction for regional conferences and events in more recent years.
“About 500,000 people a year go through Cedar Lakes,” said Jackson County Senator Mitch Carmichael. “It’s been a part of the history of West Virginia for over 63 years.”
The recent education performance audit recommended the closure of the facility because of the cost and because it doesn’t fit with the modern day education mission. A local group fought to take over the camp and conference center and run it as a private entity through the Cedar Lakes Foundation.
“It’s a shame to see it at the point it will be divested from operation of the state of West Virginia,” said Carmichael. “But this bill, and others that will follow, will enable Cedar Lakes to be sustainable and viable in a private sector environment.”
The bill enables the employees as of July 1, 2014 to be paid according to a pay scale comparable to similar jobs in the industry in the region.