(02/14/2001)
By Bob Weaver

This years RIF has affected thirteen people, causing the layoff of two professional employees and three service workers in the Calhoun school system, according to Superintendent Ron Blankenship. Six professional employees will be transferred, plus two service workers.

Blankenship says the inability to change the state funding stream which is connected to student enrollment is a distressing situation, particularly to low populated rural counties that do not have levies.

He and other school officials have recently testified before Judge Recht in the school funding case, participated in dialogue with the House and Senate education committees and discussed the seriousness of the problem with the State Superintendent of Schools.

Blankenship is seriously concerned about the decline in local enrollment, a situation which is happening in most West Virginia counties with no change in the formula. How the cuts will affect programs is "Not certain yet," although they surely will. (SEE earlier Hur Herald stories)

The actual layoff list includes Renita Benson, Sherry Butt, Judy Prusak, Joan Gordon and Susan Metheney. Gordon and Metheney requested hearings at the last Board meeting, but the decision to lay-off held. Board member Burl Simers voted against their layoff and Carlene Frederick abstained.

March 5th is the day transfers will be processed by the board, affecting eight employees.

Blankenship said the process of who gets cut involves administrators from the central office and all principals. They met to discuss how best to eliminate positions and minimize the impact on the instruction program while affecting the least senior employees.

Many school officials believe the county unit school administrations will be consolidated in the future, along with county governments that cannot financially maintain their own entities.


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