CHARLESTON – Wednesday’s positive exit review from the West Virginia Office of Education Performance Audits (OEPA) allowed the Mingo County Board of Education to regain total local control of the county’s school system.
The West Virginia Board of Education (BOE) first took control of Mingo County Schools in 1998. Control was briefly returned to the school system in 2002. However, after a poor audit in 2005 revealed deficiencies in academics, personnel, facilities, and finances the state took control once again.
“Susan O’Brien, Director of the Office of Education Performance Audits, presented the recent Mingo County audit information to the State Board of Education. The audit revealed many positive things happening in Mingo County schools,” Don Spence, Interim Superintendent of Mingo County Schools said. “She particularly emphasized that all schools showed a positive culture and cohesive climate and had implemented solid student support systems along with family/community connections. Mrs. O’Brien related how the school system was working cohesively, with effective collaboration between the local Board of Education, the Interim Superintendent, and the schools and staffs.”
“All schools are now working diligently to continue improving education for all students in the county,” Spence stated “We were very proud of the outstanding OEPA report submitted to the West Virginia State Board of Education. Getting full local control back had been a longtime goal that was finally achieved yesterday. It was a good day for Mingo County Schools.”
In 2014, Mingo County Schools regained partial control of the school system and was placed on a two year probationary period.
Yesterday’s OPEA exit audit was welcome news for members of the county BOE. Sabrina Grace, the newest member of the Mingo County BOE, exclaimed, “It was a great day for Mingo County Schools. I was very proud to be one of the people representing our schools at the state board meeting. Our county has had local control for two years and today officially ended our ‘transition’ period. We had a great OEPA report and wonderful recommendations.”
Grace continued stating, “Being a board member is not for the faint of heart. It can be tough and someone is almost always upset with a decision we make. We have made great strides in our county in the seven months I have been on board but I would be negligent if I didn’t mention the hard work of former board member, Hank Starr, and former superintendent, Robert Bobbera. I am very proud of the five board members and the superintendent we currently have and how well we work together to make Mingo County Schools the very best it can be.”
(Editor Kyle Lovern contributed to this article.)
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)