A special meeting of the Calhoun Board of Education Wednesday at 6 p.m. will hear a report from Joe Panetta, Assistant State Superintendent for Finance from the West Virginia Department of Education.

Panetta will likely discuss the county's school deficit, originally reported by the state at $558,000 in 2013, but Calhoun Superintendent of Schools Roger Propst discovered that the shortfall was actually $348,161.

Calhoun Schools was one of five state county systems targeted by the West Virginia Board of Education in February, 2013, as having major budget deficits.

The deficit is not related to missing money, rather as a shortfall to meet expenses.

Declining student enrollment in West Virginia's public schools is taking a toll on county school budgets in the Mountain State, the West Virginia Department of Education saying 37 out of 55 counties lost students from 2008-2012.

West Virginia funds its school systems based on student population.

Calhoun Schools has lost about 625 students since the early 1990s, with a legislative initiative adopted a few years ago to fund low enrollment counties at a higher rate, that program now in partial default.

A dozen counties, including Calhoun, do not have an ongoing educational levy to fund the school system. Those systems are at even greater financial risk.

Districts are forced to consider what programs, electives and personnel to cut in order to stay out of the red.

On Wednesday's board agenda is the beginning of a search for a new superintendent, with Roger Propst leaving the position at the end of the school year.

Also an item related to how to dispose of the old Arnoldsburg Elementary School.

School board agendas can be found on the systems web site.

Future Board Meeting Dates:

February 10, 2014, Regular Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Board of Education

February 20, 2014, LSIC Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Arnoldsburg Elementary

March 10, 2014, Regular Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Board of Education

March 13, 2014, LSIC Meeting, 5:30 p.m., Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center

March 27, 2014, LSIC Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Calhoun Middle-High School

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