News of the State’s precipitous seizure of Gilmer County’s Schools has spread in news media and on the Internet. The dire situation has generated more questions than answers, and citizens have the right to know answers. Until the uncertainty is eliminated, distrust will ferment and undermine efforts to establish community cooperation and support. Some critical questions are addressed below:
• Was the OEPA audit orchestrated to coincide with the hiring of a new superintendent, and was it triggered by those wishing to sabotage the hiring?
• Citizens speculate that certain local parties had major roles in causing the audit and its outcome. They want to know with certainty who those parties are and to what extent they were involved.
• Why did the State take the extreme action of a take over instead of issuing a warning that would allow duly elected officials and the new superintendent to attempt good faith corrections of problems within a reasonable time frame?
• Why did the State, in its role as the monitor of all schools in West Virginia, fail us miserably by not intervening earlier to prevent the disaster when our problems have apparently existed for years? Why now when the county was in the process of getting a new superintendent that we felt could do the job?
• Why did Gayle Manchin go out of her way at the Charleston meeting to berate Gilmer County and to exacerbate hard feelings after the harsh decision for immediate seizure of our schools was rendered?
• In a democracy people elect their officials. Of course not everyone agrees with everyone else. The change in the school system should have been done by the people, not by a dictatorship.
• The state department at no time hinted that Gilmer County schools were not doing business according to code. In fact, Gilmer County schools have been bragged on by our administrators and by the state department for years.
• Simply put, when our problems are not about what is better for our kids, and it is about political maneuvering, personal vendettas, and personal power trips, then “Houston, we have a problem”.
Regardless of answers to the questions, Gilmer County people have been disgraced, our freely elected school board was neutered, the sitting superintendent was terminated, Dr. Simmons who was hired under democratic principles had his contract voided, and the State usurped power over our school system as a preemptive strike on our self-determination.
RECENT COMMENTS BY READERS OF THE FREE PRESS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE COUNCIL OF CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR CENTRAL WV
This whole “over throw” of our school district by the Charleston uppers may be one of the most convoluted, complicated, misguided over throws in Department of Education history.
Yes, our schools have been overthrown.. Taken away from us. Charleston says it’s “for the children”. Do they expect us to swallow that? Come on now. What is the real agenda here?
It is surely a real mulligan stew. There are so many areas of local cronyism, nepotism, egoism’s, narcissism’s, incompetent employees, that one really does not know where to start with a comment, much less a solution. Now, let’s add Charleston personalities and agenda to the stew.
These issues have existed for so many years, that it simply has become the GC way of life.
The one thing that the audit report shows is that our teachers are doing pretty good job in the midst of all the smelly mud they are tramping through. The Department of Education’s own audit numbers shows that.
If you read the audit report thoroughly, you will come to the conclusion that the state was looking into every crack and crevice to build a list of negatives to carry out the some obvious agenda. So a few computers didn’t have the exact correct, proper cable to their specs? Who is to say state specs are correct and up to date? They did not say the computers were not working or dangerous, did they?
Yes, maintenance is mentioned. You do not need to be an engineer to know that the BOE and superintendents have really let we tax paying citizens down on that score, for many years in fact. Would the late George Frymeier still be with us today if the board/supers had done their job correctly. Do you remember when George was hired, that there were two other building maintenance employees too? How many school board meetings did George attend and ask for help? And how many different superintendents and board members ignored his requests. Now going back all those years, if the district needed three building maintenance employees, and with buildings ageing, why are we down to only one repairman? The only word that comes to mind is incompetency.
The audit mentions bills paid without invoices. Phooey. Most of those are “contracts” by the audits own admissions and statements. If you contract with someone for a specified amount, to be paid monthly, they get paid monthly. The bid amount is set and they are paid. I will go along with their conclusion, if they tell us that the staff, teachers, custodians, drivers, superintendent were all paid without submitting invoices. This is just another example of their trying to justify their over throw of Gilmer.
Of course, they have to take a shot at Ramco too. Must shut down the Free Press at all costs. It might inform tax paying citizens of the dirt that is continually swept under the rug by the sharpies in charge.
We might enlist the help of our local prosecuting attorney. After all, if you read the Gerry Hough billboards coming into town, signs state he is the “responsible attorney”.. Snicker, snicker. What a conflict of interest here. He could probably get the school district off the hook with some never before seen maneuvers and restore our schools to us.
The questionable hiring practices are just the nepotism and cronyism at work. The people involved need canned.. Simply, get rid of the problems. If they are in that position, they very well are intelligent(?) and trained well enough, they know they are doing wrong. Get rid of them. Oh no! Cannot do that. Read the motion number 9, we will just transfer them to another administrative position. Mercy sakes. Now that’s a real punishment, a real cover up, a real cover-your-keister and take care of your buddy move I’d say. Good old boy system working right under orders from the uppers in Charleston.
Please go read the audit report for yourself and you will see that Charleston was really stretching, really reaching for enough items to make a big report.
==They even mentioned a roof with tin and wood that “appeared” unsafe. With some of the snows we have had the past few years, if it was unsafe, would it still be there?
==Charleston complains that there is not proper physical education time, but then make the statement that the students have to negotiate stairs for bathroom use. My, that is funny.
==Charleston uses the word “potentially” over and over about safety issues. What is the track record on that? Good gracious, it’s “potentially” dangerous to have our children leave home to go to school, period.
==Did you notice that the high school and Glenville elementary school buildings got good grades? Not hard to figure that out is it? Newer buildings…….and that is where the uppers want the kids to all be. We will make everything else look terrible and we can justify what we want and get our ways with those hicks in Gilmer. They know we are poor and cannot hire anyone to help us against their march into Gilmer.
==I can just go on and on with what’s wrong here. Yes, the local district has short falls, but after reading the audit report, It sure appears there is a hidden agenda here. I wish we could determine that, in similar audit reports, were the respective districts given time to repair, remedy, and work on their deficiencies? Let’s just jam Gilmer.
It appears the hiring practices have been bent, twisted, over looked, and in many cases maybe even the disregard of standards. Probably most of the issues of paper work, poor practices, etc. fall right on a very limited number of individuals. So, get rid of the non-performers and the poor performers, get the issues fixed. This should not be any big undertaking.
Page 45 of the report mentions “instability” in the superintendents position. Now that is a stretch isn’t it? I think most counties have a turnover in the superintendent’s position. Where are the supers that have been in the same district for 25 years?
Page 46 is a real joke. Real big joke. They say that the school cannot provide a good environment for teaching the students, but their scores and statistics tell us otherwise.
But here y’all, is the real joke. This state audit report clearly states and here I will quote the bottom of page 46:
“Currently, 943 students are enrolled in Gilmer County Schools. In 2001-2001, a total of 1,095 students were enrolled. In less than 10 years, the system has lost over half of their students, yet no schools have been closed.“
The person who did the math on this one should be fired. Is this their show of desperation to carry out some one’s agenda, to carry out some one’s marching orders?
One also finds it interesting to note there is no mention of the current lawsuit that the school district is involved in. Hmmm. Wonder about that.
Please go ahead and read that audit report with an open mind. You might just find yourself thinking we have been had. Read too, that the same issues are mentioned multiple times. Is that just to make a bigger, thicker report? To make things look worse than they really are? Read it and you have to think there is something more amiss than what you see in the audit’s print.
Oh, that page 46 blunder! Tells the story on those uppers in Charleston.
What is the real motive?
Keep diggin’ y’all. It will come out.