MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — One year after the state Legislature and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin enacted the Education Reform bill, counties are seeking ways to best implement those new regulations.

Among the adjustments: Requiring certain central office staffers to go back into the classroom for a minimum of three days each year, which cuts down on substitute teacher costs and gives office personnel an idea of how campuses are evolving.

Berkeley County Superintendent Manny Arvon admitted he wasn’t a proponent of the initiative. Because all 55 county school systems operate differently, he felt lawmakers delivered a policy that looked good in theory but didn’t fully consider its implementation.

“When the bill first came through, you scratch your head, you wonder where that came from because it’s obvious that people who pass the bill have no idea about what’s going on in the daily lives of a county administrator,” Arvon said.

Arvon referenced his administrator of special education oversees 3,200 students in Berkeley County—more students than some school systems’ total enrollments. Arvon said it’s difficult for that administrator to take time away from the job to get into the classroom.

However, Arvon said all his county staffers spent the required time in the classroom this school year.

“Like any type of legislation that comes down, you try and look at the positive,” he said. “You try and implement in a way that becomes a positive in your school district.

“Sometimes getting into a school is like a breath of fresh air.”

After Berkeley County added 200 new teachers this school year, the reform guidelines gave administrators a chance to see how new hires adjusted to the classroom.

“That gives us the opportunity to go in first hand and see how things are going.”

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  • Mason County Contrarian

    Returning to the classroom only serves to remind the preponderance of administrators the reason they became administrators: they don't get along with children or were mediocre teachers themselves.

    • Elphaba

      Amen - In reality, most of them wouldn't last an hour in a classroom, particularly in the elementary grades. Nothing productive -instructionally speaking - would be accomplished. Babysitting at best, and then they will pat themselves on the back for roughing it that day.......

  • Aaron

    Why do we need 55 County Board's of Education, particularly since several only have one high school? With ~800 skills in this day do we really need this much administration?

    • JustaFan

      It's not the county school boards, it's the RESAs. We need school boards so that parents can have some say over the education of their kids. The RESA system is boondoggle of wasted resources.

      • The bookman

        Actually, I like the reverse scenario. I'd like to see the RESA model replace the county system, and regionalize the delivery of education to our students. Do away with the 55 BOE's, and the WVDE, and operate 7 Districts modeled after the current RESA layout. The savings would be enormous, and Geographically would provide choice opportunities in attendance areas. This concept has been proposed here by others before, and needs serious consideration.

        • stophating

          In large RESAs such as RESA VII, how would you assure that small counties have any local voice? Solve that problem first, and then this idea can be considered.

          Secondly, I hope that you are planning to dismiss all the political cronies that are employed at RESAs. If you think people in county board offices are inept, then you have never dealt with any RESA employees. If you have a plan to solve these two issues, please put it forward.

          • The bookman

            And of course, the Regional Board would constitute its Administration. Everyone starts from scratch.

          • The bookman

            The same way it was addressed by the Founders in the Senate. Equal representation by jurisdiction. The setting Board governing each region would be elected by the people of each county, and would send one representative with equal weight among all. Have the President of the Board rotate annually on a predetermined schedule.