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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
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May 15, 2012     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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May 15, 2012
 

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A6 Wednesday, May 16, 2012 State Spirit of JEFFERSON and FARMER'SADVOCATE School employees say funding discrepancies persist HAMLIN (AP) -- Thirty .years after a judge ordered West Virginia to overhaul public ed- ucation funding, employees of the school system at the heart of the case say they've seen little progress. In May 1982, Ohio County Circuit Judge Arthur Recht de- clared the system of financing public schools unconstitutional He ordered an 9verhaul of the education system, creation of measurable performance stan- dards and a mechanism to equal- ize educational opportunities be- tween rich and poor counties. The ruling stemmed from a class-action lawsuit filed on be- half of Janet Pauley, a mother of five who attended a PTA meet- ing in Lincoln County and was appalled to find a crumbling four-room elementary school with broken windows, broken chairs and an open sewer run- ning through the playground. The decision led to creation of ExceptionaLty compact 1199cc parattet twin with a unique 270 crank Twin downdraft furl injection with YCC-F (Yamaha Chip Controtted Throttte] Traction control Dtus both Antitock Braking System LABS) and Unified Braking System (URS) Rider comfort and convenience with adjustable set height and windshield, tunable front and rear suspension and tow-maintenance shaft drive. We're Having A Camp and Ride Saturday, May 19 Call Dealer For Details www.romneyeyeles.com 866-766-1495 'uJiuJiuii 51 Industrial Park Road, OffRt. 28, Romney, W.Va. 26757  yamaha the state School Building Au- thority to oversee major con- struction projects and the Office of Education Performance Au- dits to monitor schools' prog- ress. It also tweaked the school aid funding formula and pro- moted equalization of teacher pay. Lincoln County schools main- tenance director Dana Smith, who has worked for the school system since the year after the landmark decision, said that while the case probably made possible the construction of the $30 million consolidated Lin- coln County High School, little else has changed. "Did the Recht decision equalize funding for us? No, it didn't," Smith told the Charles- ton Gazette. "We lose people all the time to Cabell, Boone, Kanawha, Putnam- they all pay more. We're surrounded by people who've got more money than we've got. Boone and Lo- gan have their coal, Cabell's got all kinds of industry, and we've got the school system. That's our biggest employer in this county _ the schoOl system." Birdie Gandy, treasurer of Lincoln County schools and a longtime school system employ- ee, agreed "I don't really know anything that we have benefited from on the Recht decision, directly," Gandy said. "I can't point to anything and say, "This is a re- sult of the Recht decision.'" Smith said Lincoln County was home to three of the four high schools that the state said were deteriorating. "We've converted them to middle schools, but they're the same buildings," Smith said. "We've still got teachers leaving the county because they can get a pay raise somewhere else. We just don't have the tax base here, so we don't have the educational opportunities." Lincoln was short 13 full- time teachers this year. Teach- er pay in the county is $900 be- low the state average, and near- ly every surrounding county pays more. Putnam County pays $3,951 more than Lincoln, and Kanawha County pays $2231 more. These funding discrepancies are fueled by local excess levies a tax on property that goes beyond the state school funding forinula, said Dave Mohr, a se- nior policy analyst for the West Virginia House of Delegates Education Committee. Many counties rely on excess or spe- cial levies to fund teacher Sala- ries and basic education needs, such as heating and cooling sys- tem repairs. In most cases, there is nothing special or extra about what the funds cover -- coun- ties consistently use excess lev- ies as funding streams for essen- tials. "Excess levies were not in- cluded in the school funding formula, which was a big issue in the case," Mohr said. "Excess levies are considered something that counties decide on their own." The Recht decision advocat- ed for a statewide excess levy to try to equalize funding, but that proposal proved politically un- feasible and was shot down. Kenna Seal, former director of the Office of Education Per- formance Audits, doesn't focus so much on financing of schools as on what schools do with the resources they have. He said he saw major changes in Lincoln County because of the Recht de- cision. "They're no longer on the bottom of the totem pole," Seal said. "Theyrve got high-quality schools, and they've got some- one monitoring them to make sure they've got high-quality schools. I know it's significant- ly better. Look at the test scores, look at the school facilities -- this is the Recht decision com- ing to fruition." The OEPA audited Lincoln County's school system in 1999 and found deficiencies in more than 200 areas, including stu- dent performance, school cur- riculum, facilities, accounting practices and hiring practices. The school system was declared to be in a state of emergency when the state Department of Education took it over in 2000. Twelve years later, Lincoln County continues to suffer from 10w test scores, but there has been a general upward arc, Seal said. Curriculum has improved. Facilities have gotten better. Hiring discrepancies are a rarity. But there's a long way to go. In 2011, only 39 percent of the 2,240 students in Lincoln Coun- ty were proficient in reading, ac- cording to state Department of Education data. That ,was below the statewide average of 47 per- cent proficiency. In math ,,only 35 percent of the county's, stu- dents were proficient 8 per- centage points below the state average. Smith, who has two sons in the Lincoln County school sys- tem, views the modest improve- ments against the backdrop of what could have been had the Recht decision been fully imple- mented and financed. "Equalizing the system's a tough thing to do, but we were hoping that more would have been done," he said. Experience quality .... experience .... GUY'.S Pre-Owned Vehicles 2010 GMC SIERRA t500 CREW CAE 4WD, WHITE, AT, AC, 7K Mi, #B8998A 2010 GMC SIERRA t500 EXT CAB, 4WD. SILVER, AT, AC. 7K M #C9028A 2008 GMC SIERRA 1500 EXIT CAB. 4WD. BURGANDY AT, AC, 26K Mi; #O9047A 2008 GMC SIERRA t500 CREW CAB 4WD. BLUE, AT, AC. 26K Mi, #B8060B 2OO7 GMC SIERRA 1500 CREW CAB, 2WD, PEWTER, AT, AC 20K Mi, #B8987B 2007 CHEVROLET COLORADO CREW CAB. 4WD, CHAMPAGNE, AT, AC. 66K Mi, #B8926A 2008 FORD RANGER XL REG CAB. 2WD, WHITE, MANUAL, 61K Mi #B8911A 2O03 DODGE DAKOTA REG CAB. 4WD, BLUE..AT, AC, 114K Mi, #B8991C 2006 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE 4WD WHITE. AT, AC, 84K M. #C9018A GUY,S .u,c,. .,,,,, Charles Town. WV 1316 N. Mildred &t., IZanson, WY Comer of Mildred & Old Leetown Rd. 1.800.401.5459 www.GuysGmc.com 304.725.3448 *Vehicles may not represent actual vehicle being sold. Officials hope for improved care with Mecticaid changes CHARLESTON (AP) -- West Virginia Medicaid officials hope to save around $15 million an- nually by expanding managed care. The officials also told lawmak- ers Monday that the main goal of shifting some,57,000 Medic- aid recipients is to improve their care. These people are low-income seniors or have disabilities. The state Bureau of Medical Services wants to start moving them into managed care in December. Through managed care, pri- mary physicians develop indi- vidual treatment plans, and refer enrollees to a network of provid- ers. Pre-approval is required for certain procedures or for seeing an out-of-network provider. Officials told lawmakers that his approach will embrace sev- eral recently-passed health-relat- ed measures. They include phy- sician-sponsored networks and medical homes, which also aim to coordinate care. Nearly all states cover at least some people on Medicaid through managed care. 'Rocket Boys' festival revived BECKLEY (AP) -- A can- celed festival that had celebrated West Virginia's Rocket Boys is being revived in Beckley. Organizers announced Friday that the October Sky Festival will be held from Oct. 5 through 7 on the grounds of the Beckley Exhi- bition Coal Mine. In February the Cape Coalwood Restoration Association canceled the festival, which has been held since 1999 in Coalwood in Mc- Dowen County. The festival celebrates the three years, 1957 to 1960, when au- thor and former NASA engineer Homer Hickam and his friends launched rockets while in high school. They eventually won a na- tional science fair. Hickam's novel, "Rocket Boys," is about those experiences and growing up in Coalwood. The book was adapted into the 1999 movie "October Sky." Campground opening delayed HUNTINGTON (AP) -- The opening of East Lynn Lake's campground in Wayne County is being pushed hack even further due to lengthy repairs to tornado- damaged park facilities. The U.S. Army Corps of En- gineers says the opening of the campground on May 20 has been tentatively rescheduled for June 1. Reservations for the camp- ground from May 11-31 have been canceled, and campers will get refunds. Damage from the EF3 tornado on March 2 at the park was con- fined to East Fork Campground, The corps says trees were toppled at campsites, electrical and phone lines and other facilities were damaged. The storm didn't affect day-use areas, shelters and the marina. Deadline looms for WVU season tickets MORGANTOWN (AP) -- Next Tuesday is the priority deadline for fans to order season tickets for West Virginia Uni- versity home football games. WVU says season ticket holders can renew their tick- ets online at www.WVUGame com or mail their orders to the Mountaineer Ticket Office. Information on new season tickets is available for fans who did not have them in 2011. The Mountaineers open the 2012 season at home Sept. 1 against Marshall. .......... ........... : ....... to subscribe call 725-2046 I i CELEBRATING CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAY Carquest of Ranson 204 South Mildred Street Ranson, WV 25438 (304) 725-8451 Under New Ownership MAY 19 loam co 2pm CARQUEST GIVE-A-WAYS COMPLIMENTARY: Hot Dogs Macaroni Salad Cole Slaw Chips oCookie oWater/Soda AUTO PARTS Habitat for Humanity is celebrating their 25th Anniversary in West Virginia/ The Eastern Panhandle Board of Realtors is sponsoring the 8th Annual Habitat for Humanity Golf Tournament June 27, 2012 Locust Hill Golf Course Registration begins at 8 am Shotgun starts at 9 am .... Entry fee is $100 per person. Early bird special is available until May 27, 2012 at $90 per person. - (This fee inc/udes a round of goff with goff cart, breakfast,/unch and a door prize for everyone.) Prizes for first, second and third place teams will be cash: Win a 2012 Ford courtesy of Kent Parson Ford for a hole-In-one. Also, closest to the pin and longest drive prizes too. The Butcher Family 2011 Habitat forHumanity Homeowrlers Deadgne for reglshragon is June 15, 2012 For more information or to regist,, call 304-2638512 or visit www.epbr..net