State takes over Logan County School System following review
WV Board of Education authorizes immediate intervention of Logan County school system
LOGAN, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A Special Circumstance Review of the Logan County Board of Education and Central Office was conducted on September 15 through September 23 of 2022 and revealed 46 points of non-compliance, the West Virginia Board of Education announced Thursday.
A team from the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Support and Accountability arrived unannounced at several Logan County schools and the county’s central office on the morning of Sept. 15, 2022, to investigate complaints submitted to the WVDE as well as documentation submitted to the WVDE through routine federal programs monitoring.
On Thursday, a report detailing what was found during the investigation was released as the West Virginia Board of Education met in special session to consider taking action regarding the Special Circumstance Review.
The review described a toxic work environment with low morale among staff and intimidation from the central office. It listed the misuse of funds for travel and other things.
The review also cited that special needs virtual students were not being served by leaders.
Inspectors found school board members distracted from the primary responsibility of serving students and lacked an overall understanding of responsibilities.
52 percent of school leaders expressed dissatisfaction, according to the Special Circumstance Review.
According to the West Virginia State Board of Education, weeks of review and investigation lead to the following findings:
- Lack of oversight of the Logan County Virtual School program resulting in the lack of a thorough and efficient system of free education for those enrolled. This also resulted in a lack of services for special education students who are among the most vulnerable
- The use of public funds to subsidize private education
- Allegations of intimidation of school system administrators, educators and staff by executive-level staff resulting in a toxic work environment and low morale
- Improper use of county funds for county board member travel, special events and in the acquisition of the services of a vendor
- Overuse of executive sessions at county board meetings in violation of the Open Governmental Proceedings Act and leading to poor public transparency
- Issues of noncompliance in the area of finance
- Misuse of federal program funds to support activities, programs and vendors outside of the scope allowed by law
The West Virginia Board of Education special session concluded with a decision for immediate intervention. The State will assume control of the Logan County School District. Control of the day-to-day operations of the county school system as well as county board operations will be under the authority of the WVBE and the State Superintendent of Schools effective close of business Oct. 27, 2022.
A release by the West Virginia Department of Education Thursday stated, “As a result of the Special Circumstance Review, it is the recommendation of the West Virginia State Department of Education that extraordinary circumstances exist in the county that constitute major impediments to the provision of education programs and services for students, and that Logan County School System be issued Non-approval status. It is further recommended that since these extraordinary circumstances have been documented and currently exist, delaying the intervention by the WVBE into Logan County Schools for any period of time would not be in the best interest of the students and staff in Logan County in accordance with W.Va. Code.”
“The Board’s action today reflects the seriousness of the findings and the urgency to address issues in Logan County,” said Superintendent Roach. “We have designated a team that will begin the immediate work necessary to protect students, educators and staff in the county. It is important that we create a more productive environment for academic stability and growth that also promotes a healthy work environment for employees. This has been a very challenging time and process for the students, families and employees, and we appreciate the continued dedication of our school-level administrators, educators and employees have shown at this time, and we will continue to support them throughout this intervention.”
“We will move forward with every effort to provide stability and support to staff and students,” said WVBE Vice President Nancy White. “All contingencies are covered in an intervention, and the employment of school-level administrators and educators are not being contemplated at this time.”
“I am truly sorry this school system is in this situation, again,” WVBE President L. Paul Hardesty said. “Change starts today.”
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