The West Virginia Board of Education returned partial control to Gilmer County Schools Dec. 11.
The school system has undergone recent improvements and, as a result, regained partial control in the areas of curriculum, policies, finance, transportation and the establishment and operation of a school calendar.
In 2011, state board members declared a state of emergency in Gilmer County Schools and placed the school system on non-approval status. The action came after the Office of Education Performance Audits' report citing significant leadership, technology, facility, personnel and finance issues in the county.
Auditors found that "county board members were in discord, the county board operations were dysfunctional and meetings were unproductive and resulted in the board being incapable of following West Virginia Code and WVBE policies."
The OEPA returned to Gilmer County in November to conduct a follow up audit.
"Gilmer County administrators, teachers, students and the entire community should be commended for the progress they have made in the past two years," said Gus Penix, executive director of the OEPA. "As the Gilmer County Board of Education continues in developing board leadership, additional time is needed to support the board in making difficult personnel decisions and implementing county Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan."
The OEPA recommended that the WVBE continue intervention in the areas of personnel, facilities, and finance actions regarding facility expenditures. The county will operate under conditional approval status.
In addition, the OEPA recommended that the WVBE begin the next phase of the transition for the GCBE to regain full local control by establishing an exit agreement between the state board and the GCBE.
Currently Grant, Fayette, Mingo and Preston counties are under state intervention.