G-Eye™: Log Cabin Crafts

Log Cabin Crafts Christmas Open House Saturday November 28, 2015
6413 US HWY 33 WEST, Glenville, WV 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.‏

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Gilmer County Board of Education Special and Regular Meeting - 11.16.15 - Tonight

The Free Press WV
Gilmer County Board of Education
Gilmer County High School
Monday, November 16, 2015 – 4:45 PM Student Hearing
6:00 PM Regular Board Meeting

I. CALL TO ORDER - Roll Call by President




              A.  Minutes: October 19, 2015

              B.  Student Transfers

              C.  School Volunteers

              D.  Field Trips



              A.  CGCC - Dr. Carl Armour – October 20, 2015

              B. RESA 7 - Dr. William Simmons


              A. Treasurer’s Report

              B. Financial Statement

              C. Check Register

              D. December 09, 2015- 9:00 AM - State Superintendent at Glenville Elementary

              E. Thinking Maps Report

The next Regular Board Meeting is Monday, December 21, 2015.


Graduate Returning to GSC for Guest Lecture - Today

The Free Press WV

GLENVILLE, WV - Ken Kuhl, Vice President of Event Development at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas and a 1982 Glenville State College graduate, is returning to his alma mater on Friday, November 13 to deliver a presentation about his background, education, and work experience. The presentation will begin at Noon in GSC’s Mollohan Campus Community Center Ballroom.

Kuhl, who oversees all event operations for major tenants of the center (the Dallas Mavericks professional basketball team and the Dallas Stars professional ice hockey team) also handles booking, marketing, and scheduling of other events held at the American Airlines Center and the AT&T Plaza, an outdoor venue located on the south side of the center.

“I’ll be sharing an overview of my education and work experience, and then address what my current job entails and how GSC helped me in my career,“ said Kuhl. The presentation is free and open to students, faculty and staff, alumni, and local residents.

Kuhl is from Normantown, West Virginia and attended Gilmer County High School before graduating from GSC. He went on to receive a Master’s degree in Sports Management from West Virginia University in 1983. His mother, Wilda Kuhl, was a long-time employee in GSC’s library.

There will be two door prizes at the event – authentic Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars jerseys.

The GSC Department of Health and Physical Education’s Athletic Coaching Program and student organization Professional Business Leaders (PBL) are sponsoring Kuhl’s presentation.

For more information, contact 304.462.6211.


The Free Press WV

Title I Programs are a very important aspect of a school system. Traditionally, Title I has held three guiding fundamentals nationally and in West Virginia Schools:

Accountability for results:

All students are expected to meet the State’s challenging standards, and students who experience difficulty mastering those standards are provided timely, effective, additional assistance. Teachers use information about student performance and share ways that instruction can be improved to meet a wide range of student needs. The school keeps parents informed of the achievement of individual students, and of the progress of the school in meeting its goals.

Research-based practices:

Schoolwide programs operate according to a plan that contains proven, research-based strategies designed to facilitate schoolwide reform and improvement. Professional development activities are based on practices proven to be successful in helping teachers improve the quality of their instruction.

School and community engagement:

Staff in schoolwide programs engage parents and the community in their work as planners, participants, and decision makers in the operation of the school. This collaboration is based on a shared vision of the school’s values and overall mission. These partnerships strengthen the school’s ability to meet the needs of all students and improve the school.

Specific Core Beliefs of Title I Programs include:

* Plan for comprehensive, long-term improvement;

* Serve all students with highly qualified teachers and paraprofessionals;

* Provide continuous learning for staff, parents, and the community;

* Use research-based practices to develop and implement enriched instruction for all students;

* Use inclusive approaches to strengthen the school’s organizational structure;

* Consolidate resources to achieve program goals; and

* Engage in continuous self-assessment and improvement

As Director of Curriculum and Federal Programs, I feel that the first and foremost aspect to addressing the components and implementing quality Title I programs, is to gain input from those who have a direct interest and impact on the quality of education that we provide in Gilmer County. We are the educators, the parents, the family members, the fans, the community, and the support factor for our students.     

So….What do you think?

Please take time for our brief survey and give some  

feedback to improve what we do for our

Gilmer County Students and Families.

Click H E R E for the Survey

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If you would prefer to fill out a paper copy of this survey, please call 304.462.7386 x 108 or contact your child’s school to receive one.
Respectfully submitted by: Kyre-Anna Minney,
Director of Curriculum and Federal Program
Gilmer County Schools

CommunityGilmer CountyGlenvilleLinnNormantownSand ForkLewis CountyEducationEvents | AnnouncementsActivities | Announcements | RegistrationsNewsRegion(9) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

First, let me preface my comment that this is in NO manner targeting Mrs. Minney.  She does a wonderful job considering the very difficult work environment in which she is employed.  Thank you very much WVBE for creating unpleasant working conditions.

By all means, be a participant in this survey!

The very fact of this survey, exposes, yes confirms, not all is well in the education system in West Virginia.  And there is adequate data to back this statement.

Surveys, tests, waivers, meetings.  Now for how many years?  What has that done to improve education for our children?  Nothing. 

Just more of the same.  The general public, the main population of West Virginia clearly understand that the WVBE and WVDE are the BASE ROOT of WV educational failure. 

The Governor and the Legislature have totally failed in their responsibility to deconstruct the power hungry, will not admit “they personally have failed” WVBE and WVDE.  Oh yes, they talk about, but we do nothing about WVBE.

The WVBE being the cause of educational failure is not longer debated.  That is settled.  The Governor and Legislature apparently lack the backbone to take on and solve the problem.  Do not expect the WVBE to provide any remedy.  They have not to date.

Just more fruitless meetings, surveys, policies, and waiver requests.  WVBE has NO solution.

By ANOTHER SURVEY  on  11.05.2015

This is a laudable effort by a highly talented professional who understands what we need to do to improve Gilmer’s school system.

Unless Gilmer County takes action on its own there will be chaos for years while WV wallows in bottom place.

Gilmer County citizens must set standards for what is expected from our school system and to hold a superintendent we will hire to be accountable for producing.

There is no local accountability for the State’s superintendent who is loyal only to Charleston, and the WVDOE and WVBOE will keep it that way long as possible.

Citizens need to say what we want our school system to produce in terms of learning opportunities for all our students to prepare them for college, careers, and other options in life.

Gilmer’s teachers know what is needed and if they are permitted to perform their jobs they will make Gilmer County’s school system shine. 

Thank you Kyre-Anna Minnie. Citizens back your efforts to advocate for results driven decision-making in our school system.

We have had enough of the “trust us” Charleston approach which ruined Gilmer County.

By Benny Black  on  11.06.2015

We are fed the line that everything is fine with K-12 education in Gilmer County with nothing to worry about with the WVDOE in full control.

Look at Zoom data from the WVDOE’s web site to make up your own minds. Here are the next generation test results for the GCHS.

*7th grade 24% proficiency for math and 44% for reading.

*8th grade 25% proficiency for math and 38% for reading.

*9th grade 27% proficiency for math and 48% for reading.

*10th grade 20% proficiency for math and 48% for reading and 24% for science.

*11th grade 13% proficiency for math and 42% for reading.

These results with a 50% or higher failure rate for all subject areas are a disgrace. We need changes at the GCHS WVDOE and we need them now!

By R. B. Connor  on  11.06.2015

Two words cover GCHS’s performance scandal.

Leadership failure! Ownership of the problem goes 100% to the WVDOE and the WVBOE.

Nothing will change for the better until Gilmer County hires its own superintendent who will not be controlled by the local cabal, CUBIES, and Charleston.

By Jess Miller  on  11.06.2015

So much for decreasing GSC remediation.  Not one class at GCHS came in at 50% or above.  What happens when the leave elementary school? Could it have anything to do with herding over 400 students in one building with math and RLA one semester a year and no guarantee of that after 10th grade?
Don’t forget, a lot of High School students here have long travel times. They are still kids and they are not invincible. The WVBOE their WVSBA, state appointed Superintendents along with local CUBIES forgot about that a long time ago.

By Obvious Problems  on  11.07.2015

The question is what if anything will be done to improve student performance at the GCHS? All the testing in the world will not change results.

This is how the WVDOE operates. It tests, reports on results, and no definitive program is ever applied to cause measurable improvements.

Why does this happen? Simple answer. There is no accountability over the State’s superintendent with all emphasis on consolidation and building new schools. Student achievement is not an important priority.

This is a challenge to Drs. Martirano and Daniel. Why not get personally involved to demonstrate that you have the resolve and knowledge to apply to improve the GCHS’s performance?

If the two officials can’t show success in turning learning around in a small school with 400 students why should anyone believe that programs they push will ever get WV out of its 47th place rut?

By More Testing Not Answer For GCHS  on  11.08.2015

Does anyone know what the proficient score was on Smarter Balanced test? How many points were possible ?  What was considered as passing? It’s all very confusing.

By Explain The Test Please  on  11.09.2015

Why is it not legitimate to ask what the WVDOE and WVBOE plan to do to improve education outcomes at the GCHS?

With too many of our graduates being unable to read and do math they are doomed.

What about Charleston coming up with an improvement plan with use of their highly payed experts?

Getting test results is folly if there is not a follow up plan with firm accountability for making improvements.

Is scrutiny of the GCHS’s performance considered by the WVDOE and WVBOE to be off limits? It seems that way with intervention.

By Gus Miller  on  11.09.2015

Confusion and no accountability are the WVDOE’s and WVBOE’s trademarks. Call Charelston and speak with four people about next generation numbers and what they mean and you will get four different answers.

By M. A. Jenkins  on  11.09.2015

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Gilmer County Schools October 2015 Newsletter

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Normantown Elementary Honor Roll - 1st Nine Weeks – 2015-16

Normantown Elementary School Honor Roll, Grades 4-6, 1st Grading Period 2015-16

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4th Grade

Elijah Bourn

Madison Jarvis

Hailey Norman

Kathrine Phares

Raven Rexroad

Kiley Richards

Sydney Sprouse

Mikayla Taylor

Courtni Thompson

5th Grade

Lucas Arden

Hannah Beckner

Ashlyn Bourn

David Brannon

Ryleigh Harubin

Samuel Miller

Daisy Snyder

Elexis Thompson

Allison Wood

6th Grade

Ryan Beall

Shelby Gee

Tristan Hamric

Jaydon Holt

Jesse Landis

Lilly Minigh

James Mohr

Adelai Morris

Laurann Wellings

McKinzie White


Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting - 10.19.15 - Today

The Gilmer Free Press
Gilmer County Board of Education
Gilmer County High School
Monday, October 19, 2015 – 6:00 PM

I. CALL TO ORDER - Roll Call by President




        A.  Minutes: September 21, 2015

        B.  Student Transfers

        C.  School Volunteers

        D.  Field Trips

        E.  Policies



        A.  CGCC-Dr. Carl Armour – September 15, 2015

        B. RESA 7- Dr. William Simmons


        A. Treasurer’s Report

        B. Financial Statement

        C. Check Register

        D. Reports/Data Presentation

        E. Attendance/Truancy

        F. Minutes

        G. Governance Committee Minutes

The next Regular Board Meeting is Monday, November 16, 2015.


G-Eye™: Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Report - 09.21.15

The Gilmer Free Press
Gilmer County Board of Education
Gilmer County High School
Monday, September 21, 2015 – 6:00 PM

I. CALL TO ORDER - Roll Call by President

The meeting was called to order by Dr. Bill Simmons. All board members and Superintendent were present.




        A.  Minutes: August 17, 2015 provided by the Superintendent:

The meeting was called to order at 6:01 pm by President, Dr. Williams Simmons.

Members present: Tom Ratliff, Dr. William Simmons, Carl Armour, Norma Hurley, Misty Pritt and Gabriel J. Devono, Secretary.

Others Present: David Dennison, Erica Dennison, Kyre-Anna Minney, Cheri West, Joe Frashure, Wanda Reed and Dave Ramezan.

Tom Ratliff led the Board in the Pledge of Allegiance.

DELEGATIONS: David Dennison Erica Dennison

A motion was made by Tom Ratliff and seconded by Misty Pritt to approve all items on the consent agenda.
Motion passed 5-0.

There was no new business.

Carl Armour gave the Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center Report and discussed Gilmer County being one of the eight poorest counties in West Virginia and encouragement for our students as needed.
Dr. Simmons gave the RESA 7 report and discussed critical needs within public schools that address teacher certifications and instruction.

Superintendent distributed information concerning Monthly Financial Report, Financial Statement, Accounts Payable, and Curriculum. Cheri West provided information about Summer School and LIREC Grant update.

The next regular meeting of the Gilmer County Board of Education will be September 21, 2015.

A motion was made by Misty Pritt and seconded by Norma Hurley to adjourn the meeting at 6:44 p.m. Motion passed 5-0.

        B.  Student Transfers:

To Sand Fork Elementary School from Braxton County = 4

To Glenville Elementary School from Lewis County = 1

To Glenville Elementary School from Calhoun County = 1

To Gilmer County High School from Calhoun County = 2

To Gilmer County High School from Lewis County = 2

Gilmer County to Calhoun County = 1

Gilmer County to Lewis County = 2

Braxton County to Gilmer county = 2

Normantown Elementary School to Glenville Elementary School = 3

Transfer student like to remain at Glenville Elementary School = 6

        C.  School Volunteers:

Sand Fork Elementary School : Cecile Swanson,  Seth Swanson, Heather Krock

Normantown Elementary School: Robin Bourn, Regina Hall, Jennifer Harper, Dendra Miller, Tina Miller, Mary Beth, Sauer Elizabeth, Shaffer Tina White

Glenville Elementary School: TammyTatman, Allison Gray Eddie, Anderson Michelle, Clowser Heather, Movers Shelly, Ratliff Carolyn, Sheets Don Sheets, Tamara Hough, Marsha Tompkins, Timothy Tompkins, Jodie Paugh

        D.  Field Trips:

GCHS Marching Band to CMHS Football Game = $155.00

DMAPS Professional Development

GCHS Marching Band to WCHS Football Games = $185.00

GCHS Marching Band to Cabell Midland High School Festival = $495.00

Normantown Elementary School to GSC = $100.30

GCHS FFA Members to WVFFA Fall Leadership Conference in Ripley = $56.00

GCHS Marching Band to Hurricane High School and Poca High School = $475.00

GCHS 8th Grade to State Capitol Building and Culture Center = $200.00

GCHS FFA Members to Elementary Heritage Days = $0.00

Normantown Elementary School as Presenter in Heritage Days = $0.00

GCHS Marching Band to Spencer, WV at Black Walnut Festival = $762.00

GCHS Marching Band to Laidley Field in Charleston, WV = $450.00

GCHS FFA Members to National FFA in Louisville, KY = $392.00

GCHS Middle/High to Track for Fitness Gram Testing = $0.00

Sand Fork Elementary School to GSC Fine Arts = $155.65

        E.  Policies:

        F.  Curriculum:



        A.  CGCC-Dr. Carl Armour – August 25, 2015 [Video]:

Calhoun-Gilmer Administrative Council Official Minutes August 25, 2015

Members Present:
Mr. Timothy Woodward, Presiding
Mr. Nathan Taylor, State Dept.
Mr. Gabriel Devono, GilmerSupt.
Dr. Carl Armour, Gilmer
Mrs. Jenna Jett, Calhoun
Mr. Bryan P. Sterns, Secretary

Others Present:
Mrs. Lisa Moore

Mr. Jason Hughes

ITEM I-Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Mr. Woodward at 10:59 a.m.

ITEM II - Director’s Evaluation
Mr. Woodward asked for any council members’ input regarding Mr. Stern’s evaluation. He made note of council’s comments.

ITEM III Agenda Adjustments

ITEM IV-Delegations

ITEM V - Approval of Minutes
The minutes of July 21, 2015 were presented for approval. Mrs. Jett moved to approve the minutes as presented; second by Dr. Armour. Motion carried. Vote: Unanimous.

ITEM VI - Reports
1.  Annette Benson - Commercial Baking
Chef Benson addressed council regarding a new program that CGCC is looking to develop; the Commercial Baking and Pastry program. She outlined the curriculum contents and the work that she had put in to developing the program. Council members were all in agreement that the program would be beneficial to students and the entrepreneurial opportunity for the students went hand in hand with this course.
ITEM VII - New Business
ABCD: Financial Matters: The list of bills, an additional list of bills, the financial statement, budget supplements/transfers, additional supplement, and the CGCC Individual School Financial Report for July were presented for approval. (See Attachments, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6). Dr. Armour moved to approve all financial items A through D, Seconded by Mr. Taylor. Mr. Sterns noted an addition to the financial report, as the ABE grant had been an additional supplement which was not reflected on the financial report at the time council packets were prepared.  Motion carried and vote was unanimous.

E. Personnel:
Employment:  Substitute Custodian - Mr. Sterns had no recommendation for council.
Evening ALC Position- Mr. Sterns recommended Traci Evans for Evening ALC instructor on an as needed basis. Dr. Armour moved to accept the recommendation, seconded by Nathan Taylor. No further discussion, the motion carried and the vote unanimous.

Night Class Pay and Posting: Pending adequate enrollment Mr. Sterns presented council with three night class positions (see attachments 7, 8, & 9) with discussion on increasing the salary. Mr. Devono moved to approve the posting pending adequate enrollment at $20/hour. The motion was seconded by Mr. Taylor. Motion carried and vote unanimous.

F. Natural Resources Management SAE 5 days:
Mr. Sterns asked council for approval of 5 SAE days for Natural Resources Management Instructor, Leigha Mclntyre-Smith. Mr. Taylor moved to approve those SAE days set at 5, seconded by Dr. Armour. Council suggested looking at increasing those days should enrollment increase in the future. Motion carried and vote was unanimous.

G. Commercial Baking and Pastry:
Council was asked for approval of the development of the local new program Commercial Baking and Pastry. Mr. Sterns informed Council that CGCC was prepared to move forward with that program this year for second year students. Mr. Taylor moved to approve the development of the Commercial Baking and Pastry program, seconded by Mrs. Jett. Motion carried; vote
H. ALC Summer Support -
Mr. Sterns recommended approval of Mrs. Kris Snyder, ALC Instructor, to offer up to 20 hours of Alternative Learning support in the summer. She would be monitoring progress of CGCC students as they work online, offering support and keeping the High Schools/parents informed of the progress. Mrs. Jett moved to approve the ALC Summer Support for up to 20 hours, seconded by Mr. Devono. Some discussion took place and the understanding was made that the support would only be for credit recovery. Motion carried, vote unanimous.

I. Simulated Work Place Drug Testing Policy
Mr. Sterns presented council with a copy of the CGCC Simulated Work Place Drug Testing Policy (see attachment 10) for approval. Dr. Armour moved to approve the policy, seconded by Mr. Taylor. Motion carried; vote unanimous.

J. General Discussion
Mr. Sterns shared with council preliminary enrollment data with the understanding that the information was changing frequently as schedules were adjusted.
Also, council was informed of the Counselor’s Brunch that will take place here at CGCC on September 2, 2015.

ITEM VIII - Adjournment and Scheduling of Next Meeting
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Administrative Council will be Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. With no further business occurring, the meeting was adjourned.

Mr. Tim Woodward, Presiding
Mr. Bryan P. Sterns, Secretary

        B. RESA 7- Dr. William Simmons [Video}


        A.  Monthly Financial Report

        B.  Financial Statement

        C.  Accounts Payable

        D.  Curriculum

        E.  Reports

No information provided by the Superintendent for above items: A, B, C, D, E

The next Regular Board Meeting is Monday, October 19, 2015.


Gilmer County Board Of Education Annual Financial Statements - 06.30.15

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JUNE 30, 2015

Click H E R E to View the Printable Report


G-FYI™: Gilmer County’s Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) in the Amount of $1,000,000

The Gilmer Free Press

CHARLESTON, WV - The West Virginia Board of Education will meet to conduct routine business on Wednesday, October 14, 2015, at 10:00 a.m., in Capitol Building 6, Room 353 (Board Conference Room), 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, West Virginia.

The meeting will continue on Thursday, October 15, 2015, at 9:00 a.m., in Capitol Building 6, Room 353 (Board Conference Room), 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, West Virginia, if the meeting is not completed on October 14, 2015.

Click H E R E  for the agenda for this meeting.

You can also click H E R E  to see the minutes of previous meeting which is on the agenda for approval.

The following is the part regarding the Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) in the amount of $1,000,000 which was borrowed on behave of Gilmer County Board of Education:

Resolution on Behalf of Gilmer County Board of Education Approving a Lease Purchase Agreement with United Bank as a Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) in the Amount of $1,000,000

Ms. Heather Hutchens, General Counsel to the WVDE, presented a Resolution on behalf of Gilmer County Board of Education approving a lease purchase agreement with United Bank as a Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB)  in the amount of $1,000,000 for the Board’s consideration.

The proceeds from the bond will be used to equip Gilmer County Elementary School; United Bank will hold the title to the equipment.

Mrs. Manchin moved that the Resolution on behalf of Gilmer County Board of Education approving a lease purchase agreement with United Bank as a Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB)  in the amount of $1,000,000 for the Board’s consideration be approved. 

Dr.  Wilson seconded the motion and upon the call for the question the motion was carried unanimously.

Gilmer County Schools September 2015 Newsletter

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WVSBA Rejection of Fayette County’s Plan Brings Up Many Questions in Gilmer County

The Gilmer Free Press

Charleston excels at advising to let the past go when it blunders. That concept is inappropriate for State Government which is accountable to the people.

The WV Legislature is urged to commission a full investigation of what led to the decision for constructing the new grade school in Gilmer County.

The investigation should address the following CommunityConcerns™:

    •  Why did the WVBOE approve purchase of the Crooked Run site when it was begged not to pay the huge amount of money for it?

    •  Who signed checks for the site’s purchase and all other expenses associated with it until the project was abandoned?

    •  Who was responsible for the project’s budget tracking blunder from the time money began to be billed against the Crooked Run project?

    •  What is the full accounting for how each penny was spent leading up to the Crooked Run abandonment to include all recipients of money.

    •  How did the architect, CEFP committee, WVBOE and WVDOE officials fit in, and where are all the official records for all the CEFP committee’s meetings leading up to the decision for Crooked Run and the move to Hays City?

    •  How much more money will be required for the change to Hays City from the stopping point of Crooked Run when the WVDOE guaranteed that there would not be any extra costs for the site change with assurances that the Hays City school will be a world class faculty.

    •  Related to the concern immediately above why is it necessary for the WVDOE and the WVBOE to put the County in debt for borrowing $1,000,000 of QZAB funds as an example of taxation without representation?

    •  Why has the SBA failed to fund a professionally done and approved Emergency Preparedness Plan for the new school while there still may be time for precautionary alterations to ensure the safety of the County’s children should a sudden flash flood occur after the school is occupied?

    •  Did qualified and independent specialists conduct all pre-construction studies, including those to address the presence of dangerous substances, to ensure that technical shortchanging did not occur to affect the accuracy of conclusions?

    •  Who performed the technical studies, how much did they cost, who administered them, and why were the results not made available for timely peer and public review and comment?

• Who is responsible for assuring Gilmer County’s citizens that laws, regulations etc., will not be violated by the long to-and-from daily bus rides by the youngest children to the new school from outer reaches of the County?

Although it is unheard of in WV State government, after the full investigation is completed all individuals responsible for the fiasco, including those in the WVBOE, WVDOE and the WVSBA should be held fully accountable even if that should mean prosecution for crimes and any other appropriate punitive measures.

Nothing like this outrage should ever happen again against West Virginia’s children.

Each penny of money wasted by the WVBOE, WVDOE, and the WVSBA could have gone to improve their educations. 

Ryan Quinn(Education Reporter) Reported on Fayette County on September 28, 2015:

The Gilmer Free Press
School Building Authority shoots down Fayette consolidation plan

The state School Building Authority on Monday shot down Fayette County Schools’ latest plan to consolidate schools.

This attempt would’ve combined four high schools—Fayetteville, Meadow Bridge, Midland Trail and Oak Hill—into a new one, and allowed students in the dilapidated Collins Middle to move into the current Oak Hill High.

Monday’s divided voice vote to deny Fayette’s request to amend its current building plan, which would’ve allowed it to compete with other counties for SBA funding for the estimated over $50 million new high school, came after several SBA board members raised issues with the proposed consolidation.

The West Virginia Board of Education approved the amendment 6-3 earlier this month, despite attempts by some state school board members to stop the planned closure of Meadow Bridge High, which had the fewest high schoolers in the county last year, but has a loyal group of supporters who consistently travel to meetings in Charleston to speak against closing the school.

Peter Markham, the SBA board chairman and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s general counsel, said he only counted three people among the 11-member board who voted to approve Fayette’s requested amendment: State Schools Superintendent Michael Martirano; state school bo ard member Tina Combs, who joined Monday’s meeting by telephone; and Robert Holroyd. As chairman, Markham said, he votes only to break ties.

SBA members Steve Burton, Tom Campbell, Victor Gabriel, Tom Lange, Eric Lewis and Chris Morris voted against the Fayette plan. It was unclear how Wade Linger, who also joined the meeting by teleconference, voted. Like Combs, Linger is a state school board member who previously voted for the amended plan, but said it was the hardest vote in his seven years on the board, and he hoped there was still some way to save Meadow Bridge High.

SBA board members raised objections Monday over forcing Fayette schools to consolidate despite county voters rejecting a school building and renovation bond that would’ve consolidated schools differently but also closed Meadow Bridge High. That bond, which would’ve raised property taxes, received support from only 38 percent of the roughly 25 percent of registered Fayette voters who voted in June’s special election. Fayette voters haven’t approved a school bond in more than 40 years.

SBA board members expressed concern that neither Fayette’s residents nor its locally elected school board voted for the new consolidation plan.

“Nobody approved this. Not the local board, not the taxpayers. But wait a minute, the state board approved it,” said Gabriel, of Harrison County. “… This is not a dictator board, this is America and this is West Virginia, by gosh.”

“The folks in Fayette County, I don’t believe, are ever going to agree to a plan,” Combs said before the SBA vote.

The state school board took control of Fayette schools in 2010, after a state report said the local board was “unwilling to deal with the very small high schools and support a plan to combine some and improve severe facility deficiencies, limited curriculum, and poorly achieving schools.”

Terry George, Fayette’s new state-appointed superintendent, created the new consolidation plan in the wake of the June bond’s failure, and Martirano, who appointed George, signed off on it.

“There will be no decision, or any impact that is going to impact kids in a positive way in the near future,” Martirano said when asked about Monday’s vote. He said George and others in Fayette need to “regroup,” though he didn’t yet have specific details about how he plans to move forward.

“My chagrin is based upon the fact that the process stopped today,” Martirano said. “So I’m going to continue to be optimistic as the conversations occur, but the urgency was there to do something sooner than later, and I am disappointed that the process ended today.”

Martirano ordered the closure of Collins Middle’s seventh- and eighth-grade building in January because of structural issues, sending about 400 students to county high schools. With the SBA’s vote Monday, it’s unclear where those students will end up.

Monday’s vote only concerned whether to approve amending Fayette’s building plan to allow it to compete with other counties for SBA grants for its proposed consolidated high school. The SBA distributes dollars raised from both state general revenue and lottery funds.

Burton, of Wayne County, and Lewis, of Jefferson County, both suggested the board should vote against to plan so as not to give Fayette “false hope” that members would approve funding in December.

“I just think it behooves us to be honest and upfront with folks,” Burton said.

Campbell, a Greenbrier County resident and a state school board member who previously voted against the amended plan, got into a tense discussion with George about the plan, which he argued was rushed following George’s appointment as superintendent.

“This is too critical of an issue to rush something through like this,” Campbell said. “You’re changing kids’ lives for generations.”

Campbell also asked Martirano why the state Department of Education isn’t allowing Meadow Bridge High supporters to get a second opinion on the condemnation of the high school’s second floor. Martirano declined to discuss the issue, citing a lawsuit Meadow Bridge supporters have filed over the issue.

George has estimated the planned new high school—which would have about 1,500 to 1,600 students and be built next to New River Elementary, Oak Hill High and the Fayette Institute of Technology—would cost $52 million to $58 million. On Monday, he said Fayette would only need about $13 million annually from the SBA over the next three years, with the county providing about $17 million in local funding, including $11 million from a lease-purchase attempt.

“Our plans are to go back and re-evaluate our situation and begin doing the best we can for the students who are being educated in sub-par facilities,” George said after the vote.

He said it’s “too premature” to discuss whether the county will try passing another bond, though he said the SBA’s message Monday was that it wouldn’t fund any projects not supported by a bond. He said he thinks Fayette residents are “not going to tax themselves for anything.”

“It’s the students who lost here today,” he said.

Also Monday, SBA board members approved policy and job description changes meant to improve SBA employees’ oversight of funded projects, according to Scott Raines, the SBA’s architectural services director.

He said the personnel changes relate to something the SBA has already begun: getting staff involved in reviewing counties’ proposed projects before they submit them for possible funding, in order to ensure the projects meet the considerations, like student travel time, that state law requires the SBA to evaluate when deciding which projects to support. The SBA board voted to explore whether employees’ salaries need to be adjusted, and Raines said SBA staff plan to compare workers’ salaries with pay in other state agencies, and compensation for similar positions in other states, without using an outside firm.

He said a policy change approved Monday will also allow the SBA to hire construction management firms to oversee projects that are relatively complex or expensive or are located in counties where the local school system may not have the ability to adequately supervise the project.

Raines has said architects—paid directly by the counties, not the SBA—have in the past designed school buildings that are thousands of square feet larger than the SBA agreed to fund. He said the construction managers will look out for the SBA’s interests and be involved in projects from early in the design process through construction completion. They’ll work to ensure better coordination among contractors working on different issues, like plumbing and air conditioning, and keep projects within time and budget. Raines expects they’ll pay for their own fees through cost savings.


~~  Submitted Article ~~

Gazette-Mail: Alleged Arson Attempt in Gilmer School Spawns Controversy

The Gilmer Free Press

An alleged arson attempt at a Gilmer County elementary school has fed continuing disagreement between the county’s state-appointed superintendent and some members of its locally elected school board.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Jason Baltic said investigators with the state fire marshal’s office inspected an abandoned section of Normantown Elementary August 21. Principal Faye Chambers said the school’s roughly 130 students occupy trailer classrooms and buildings outside the mostly vacant main building, though they still use a gym attached to, but sealed off from, the abandoned portion. The students are set to move to a consolidated elementary school next school year.

Baltic said “ordinary combustibles,” defined as materials like paper that one could find in a home, “were placed in a manner throughout the building that would indicate that somebody was attempting to set fire to it.” He said investigators believe the materials had been in the building for some time before their discovery, though he didn’t know exactly how long. He declined to reveal much further information because the office is still investigating and he doesn’t want possible suspects — of which the office currently has none — to know how much info he already has.

Controversy has arisen over allegedly conflicting statements Gabe Devono has made about the building’s contents, which he said appeared more to be an act of vandalism than arson.

Devono — who last year was named superintendent of the Gilmer school district, which has the state’s lowest enrollment at about 900 students — told the Gazette-Mail on Monday that a custodian who wanted to get a desk from the abandoned section asked a local firefighter to go inside. Devono said the firefighter discovered “a bunch of paper” in the structure, and the superintendent said he was informed of the situation and called a local fire marshal the next day, August 14, a Friday. The following Tuesday, he and Gilmer County Schools Facilities Director Joe Frashure went through the building.

“It was just paper towels rolled around, there was no continuation of paper towels, some were thrown on the cement steps, some were wrapped around the banister, some of them were soaking wet, some of them had bat feces on them, so they’d been in there for a while,” Devono said. He said there were no fire accelerants, like lighter fluid, added to the paper and no evidence of attempts to actually ignite it.

After a school board meeting last month, Devono gave board members information about the situation and showed them pictures from inside the structure, but disagreement has followed over what, exactly, he told them. Dave Ramezan, editor of the Web-based Gilmer Free Press, said he was at the meeting and heard Devono’s conversation with board members. He said he emailed the superintendent with general questions about the alleged arson, but Devono never replied. Devono denies ever receiving such an email.

On Septtmber 03, after the meeting and sending the email, Ramezan published a post to his website titled “Why is the West Virginia Department of Education Keeping Intended Torching of the Normantown School Secret?” It included a list of questions about the incident that he said came from six people.

“Within past weeks a serious crime attempt was committed at Normantown,” the post began under the words “top secret” in red, all capital letters. “The old brick school was entered and elaborate preparations were made to burn it down. Based on reports from well placed sources the perpetrator(s) used an elaborate wicking system to go from the ground floor to locations throughout the building so a match could start a fast moving flash fire.”

The post also included allegations about other issues.

Devono accused Ramezan on Monday of never publishing a news release he wrote to rebut the post, though the release is on the site through a link in another post, dated Sept. 8.

“To be clear, we did not instruct anyone not to talk about this incident or to keep it secret,” reads the news release, which also announced an upcoming informational meeting on the issue to be held at the elementary school. “The incident was in no respect ‘top secret.’”

But during that September 10 meeting — according to a video of the meeting that Ramezan recorded — Devono said he had asked board members to keep the incident confidential. Board member Carl Armour, who sat in the small audience, said Devono had told the board that the building contained a “column” that was “so big that if he put his arms around it he probably couldn’t touch his fingers, and he had on his cell phones pictures of appendages going off of that column to different places in the building.”

Norma Hurley, a fellow board member, said she agreed with Armour.

“I felt very, very insulted when it was reported that no one had been told just not to say anything because I would have certainly answered any question any parent in this county asked me,” Hurley said in the meeting. “Let alone Normantown parents.”

Also during the meeting, Frashure, the facilities director, said the building contained a “single strand” of paper heading up a stairwell that was broken in several places but went “down the hallways of the different floors of the building.”

“The superintendent reported one thing that the pictures shown previously did not support,” Hurley told the Gazette-Mail. Baltic said he couldn’t provide photos to the Gazette-Mail, citing the investigation.

Hurley said board members have not been allowed to walk through school buildings, and have been denied other rights given to school boards that are free of state control. She said there’s a feeling of mistrust fed by the state’s handling of the county.

“The boards of education [in takeover counties] are totally at the mercy of state-appointed superintendents,” Hurley said.

Department of Education spokeswoman Kristin Anderson said the state took over the district in 2011 and still controls finance, personnel and facilities decisions there. Before the takeover, the state Office of Education Performance Audits had found that board members were in discord, meetings were unproductive and the board wasn’t following state law or state school board policy.

A video Ramezan posted of a June 01, 2015, board meeting shows dissension predates the alleged arson. Devono and board members Tom Ratliff and Bill Simmons wanted to enter a closed session to discuss property, but Hurley and Armour objected and Devono urged Simmons to move on, refusing to discuss the situation in open session. Members began raising voices.

“Carl, I’m tired of your inclinations towards me,” Devono eventually says to Armour, before the meeting adjourns as members still argue and Devono asks Ramezan to turn his camera off.

Devono said Monday he did tell board members that the firefighter had called it a “wicking system,” though he said the arson investigators haven’t called it such.

“If it looked professionally done, I wouldn’t have those kids over there, and if it was hazardous to my kids I wouldn’t have them over there, or my teachers or my staff,” he said. He said the building has been boarded up, and a local fire department is planning to remove the paper.

Simmons, a former president of Glenville State College, said the superintendent was “forthright” with board members about the situation. He also said the main building catching fire would’ve endangered the surrounding buildings where students are.

“This is not a political football,” Simmons said. “This is a serious business and we need to find out what actually the situation was and not run out and speculate. Because often people speculate — and they speculate wrong.”

Baltic said those with information can call the arson hot line at 1.800.233.3473; there’s a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of an arsonist.

~~  Ryan Quinn - Charleston Gazette-Mail  ~~

The Gilmer Free Press

This investigative report on a Gilmer County School District intervention, hot button issue from Charleston Gazette-Mail Reporter Ryan Queen has been a long time coming. The Gilmer Free Press (GFP)  never doubted the truths previously reported on the Normantown Elementary School arson attempt could stand the light of day. Obviously, the state employees position did not. (CommunityConcerns™: Normantown School CSI - 09.03.2015CommunityConcerns™: Response to WVDOE’s Press Release to Normantown CSI Issue - 09.08.2015, and Normantown Town Hall Meeting Report - 09.16.2015.

We find it odd that Superintendent Devono now speaks of “local fire marshal” involvement but never referred to as anyone other than a “local volunteer fireman” previously.

The question remains as to who that might be since Mr. Quinn verified the date of inspection given the Gazette by the State Fire Marshal Investigative Division to be the same reported by local Gilmer County Board of Education member Hurley as August 21, 2015 at the Normantown Town Hall meeting which was denied vehemently by Mr. Devono.  If you have followed the GFP report it becomes clear Mr. DeVano’s story changes with each passing day!

GFP readers, intelligent and informed will draw their own conclusion but we would be remiss in not pointing out one very important thing that Mr. Quinn’s article is lacking. It is proper investigation of the WVBOE excuse for the immediate intervention into the Gilmer County School System.  Oh the standard excuse is provided but it does not explain why Gilmer County was the ONLY intervention county that did not receive six months to improve or eliminate any of the state “reasons”. What he gives is the same paragraph you can read in every takeover county OEPA report. It is the SOP of the WVBOE.

No research is done to determine why every intervention county running a bond was permitted multiple attempts to get it passed.  Not Gilmer County, only one chance to fail and requests to rerun were ignored or denied.  In no other intervention county but Gilmer did the OEPA report they went on the street to get input from undisclosed sources. No other intervention county but Gilmer was given only a weekend to respond to allegations made by the OEPA.

The WVBOE and WVDE needs to understand that Gilmer County citizens are wise enough not to judge a book by its cover. If that were so, there is a plain black book with a single word title and no pictures that would never have been opened by billions.

~~  G. Dave Ramezan ~~

Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting - 09.21.15 - Today

The Gilmer Free Press
Gilmer County Board of Education
Gilmer County High School
Monday, September 21, 2015 – 6:00 PM

I. CALL TO ORDER - Roll Call by President




        A.  Minutes: August 17, 2015

        B.  Student Transfers

        C.  School Volunteers

        D.  Field Trips

        E.  Policies

        F.  Curriculum



        A.  CGCC-Dr. Carl Armour – August 25, 2015

        B. RESA 7- Dr. William Simmons


        A. Monthly Financial Report

        B. Financial Statement

        C. Accounts Payable

        D. Curriculum

        E. Reports

The next Regular Board Meeting is Monday, October 19, 2015.


Gilmer County Family Court Report

The Gilmer Free Press

•  One divorce was granted on August 31st with Nathaniel James (36) of Normantown, WV divorcing Ronda James (37) of Grantsville, WV.

On Wednesday, September 2nd:

•  1 domestic violence petition was granted, one modification was heard and a temporary order was entered in it.

•  One paternity case was continued.

Family Court Judge Larry Whited held Court in Gilmer County on Wednesday, September 9th.

He granted

•  One domestic violence petition

•  Continued 2 status hearings

•  Heard a preliminary hearing in a divorce case

•  One relocation hearing was held.

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