(03/22/2019)
By Bob Weaver

Calhoun Schools have eliminated or reduced about 15 positions for the school year 2019-20, an action taken for lack of funds, particularly with the state not adjusting the School Funding Formula or not having a local school levy.

"This action is not something the school system wants to take, but under the current school aide funding we must stay within the state funding for positions," said Superintendent Kelli Whytsell.

Whytsell said it is becoming a situation of "The haves and have nots."

Most of the counties affected are rural with a small tax base and declining enrollment. Calhoun now has an enrollment of less than 1,000 students.

A decades long effort in the WV Legislature failed again this year to implement the 1400 Rule, which would have funded about ten counties as if they had a student enrollment of 1400 students.

Whytsell said it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain state education criteria.

Roane County Schools is reporting the steepest decline in student enrollment it has seen in more than two decades.

In a one-year span, the county saw a six percent drop in enrollment, totaling more than 130 students.

Now, school administrators say they have some tough decisions to make as the future of certain administrative, teaching and staff positions are in jeopardy.

Because of the loss in student population Superintendent Richard Duncan said Roane County Schools will lose $800,000 in state funding.

Board members are in the process of eliminating several teaching positions at Walton and Geary elementary schools, reducing the number of classroom aides and consolidating other administrative positions.

Political watchers say a move is on to eliminate 55 county school systems, suggesting they be reduced to about 12.

Several rural counties have tax bases that have not kept up with costs to fund basic county services, including Calhoun.

In Calhoun a number of professional and service positions are being eliminated, consolidated or transfered:

Katrina Frederick-Howe, Deidre Brannon, Megan Cain, Amanda Hicks, Christina Miller, Russell Richards, Shyrick Schoolcraft, Kandas Smith, Charles Wagoner, Sierra McCormick, Stacey Wagoner, Jared Fitzwater, Heather Cummings, Adeanna Davis, and Joseph Taylor.

See   CALHOUN SCHOOLS SUFFER FROM STATE FUNDING FORMULA - "Creating The Have's And Have Not's" Says Superintendent Whytsell


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