The state Board of Education declared Thursday that a state of emergency exists in the Lincoln County school system and a state takeover will take place in six months unless improvements occur.
WV Metro News reported the state board approved the motion unanimously after meeting in executive session. The board received information in a “special circumstances report” from its Office of Accountability Services.
State School Board member Tom Campbell, who made the motion Thursday to declare a state of emergency, said the board is pleased with the progress that new Lincoln County Superintendent Jeff Kelley has made since May but his efforts need state Department of Education assistance.
The review of the system’s finances focused on eight areas included purchases, payroll, supplemental pay practices and general financial procedures.
The state of emergency motion gives state School Superintendent Clayton Burch the authority to appoint a designee from the state Department of Education to help coordinate onsite school improvement efforts.
Campbell said state code gives the Lincoln County School Board six months to make progress on the recommendations.
The Department of Education began an investigation of the full Lincoln County system after it completed a probe into Guyan Valley Middle School. A department review team in January, found multiple incidents involving employees and actions not within state policy.
Lincoln County has had a history of state takeovers of its school system. The state Department of Education controlled Lincoln County Schools for 12 years because of the local board’s influence on employment and personnel. The state board voted in December 2012 to return local control.