By Rachel Dove
CHARLESTON – Legislation introduced by Mingo County Del. Justin Marcum to restrict the state Board of Education from prolonging a school system takeover without producing positive results was passed by the House of Delegates and sent to the Senate for consideration.
“Residents of Mingo County are extremely frustrated at the state BOE’s insistence on maintaining control of the county school system despite still not producing the desired improvements,” Marcum said. “This bill will correct that.”
HB 4336 gives the state school board no more than five years to improve any school or school system under its control. If the state board seeks to take control of the school or school system again within three years of control being relinquished, the bill requires that a public hearing be held.
The legislation also requires the active involvement of the county board in the improvement process during the period of intervention as well as support for building the capacity of the board and schools to continue improvement following the intervention.
The state board has seized control of Mingo County schools twice in the past 15 years.
House Majority Leader Harry Keith White, also of Mingo County, co-sponsored this legislation.
“Mingo County citizens deserve to have their voices heard by the members of the local board we all elect,” White said. “It is important we have local leaders moving Mingo County Schools forward.”
HB 4336, which will be applicable to all counties in the state, is also sponsored by House Education Chair Mary Poling and Education Vice Chair David Perry, and Dels. Mike Ferro, David Pethtel, Cliff Moore, Doug Reynolds, Mike Caputo, John Pino and Jason Barrett.
Marcum has noted the bill is generating a lot of interest at the Capitol because so many counties have experienced the same problem.
“We can’t even buy a pencil without state approval, and that is simply unfair and unjust,” Marcum said.
The bill, which passed the House by a 95-1 vote, can be viewed by going to the legislature’s website, clicking on “Bill Status” and entering 4336.