When those who supported the consolidation of Mingo Central High School (MCHS) made an argument for the merger, one of their main arguments was that it would be better academics and that education would improve in the county.
The combining of Williamson, Burch, Matewan and Gilbert to form one school was a controversial move, but the fact that students were reportedly going to get a better education, swayed the thinking of many who opposed the consolidation.
However, now after just five years of existence, the Mingo County School Administration is making budget cuts that will significantly impact the education of these students.
As one MCHS student Eric Dillon stated, “Some of these promises included smaller class sizes and more AP programs available to students. However, these smaller class sizes will disappear with the removal of just a few teachers.”
The current plan being proposed will reduce a number of professional and service personnel in Mingo County. The locations of the job cuts and specific positions cut vary across the county with Mingo Central losing seven professional positions – nearly 1/3 of the total cuts in professional positions being proposed. Teachers at Mingo Central will be reduced by five, counselors by one, and one assistant principal cut, according to information provided by MCHS Principal Teresa Jones.
Jones told the Board of Education and administration that the average class size is actually 21 to 22 students rather than the 12.71 stated in the report by the county. This number is based on the current enrollment in those classes. She said numbers are skewed because of Special Education classes and the 13 Career Tech teachers who through Simulated Workplace are limited to 15 students.
The projected enrollment for Mingo Central next year (based on current numbers) will be 756 students. This number is greater than the current enrollment but normal for previous years’ enrollment.
If funds need to be cut, maybe the School’s administrators should look at their own office located at Cinderella Hollow near East Williamson.
The Williamson Daily News has obtained the salaries of the school system and some of those are very high. Because of privacy issues, we won’t mention those salaries but will say that the combined salaries are more than $1 million dollars. This includes the superintendent, two assistants, directors/managers/coordinators and the business office. There are several other support positions for curriculum and other departments.
The question that some are asking is does the administrative office need as many “directors/managers” and other support personnel?
It appears that the Mingo County School’s budget is top heavy.