|UPDATE - Because of declining coal revenues, McDowell County schools will be forced to cut 30 positions at the end of the school year, according to Superintendent Nelson Spencer.|
Spencer said that the school district is dealing with a 1.5 million dollar cut in state and local funding, and will eliminate 15 professional positions and 15 service positions.
Affected employees were notified on Thursday and Friday of last week. The cuts will go into effect at the end of the current school year.
McDowell County Schools has lost 400 students in the past 5 years. Spencer said between 20 and 30 positions were eliminated last year.
Despite years when coal was doing well, McDowell County has been on the list of the 100 poorest counties in the USA.
2/8/2016 -The decline of the West Virginia coal industry is being felt by government and particularly by county school systems in coal country.
State leaders are working to fill budget holes created by a sharp decline in coal severance tax revenue, but the impact is magnified in the coalfield counties.
Boone County School Superintendent John Hudson announced this week he would recommend the cutting of 77 positions in the county school system in the coming year. Among the positions to be cut are 60 teachers or administrators and 17 service personnel.
The revenue losses are only part of the story in Boone County where coal mining or jobs tied to the coal industry have long been the county's biggest employer. The county is experiencing an unprecedented decline in enrollment.
Hudson said the rate of decline is staggering.
Fayette County Schools will eliminate professional jobs and service personnel in an effort to match funding the state allows for such positions.
Fayette Superintendent Terry George says the county will reduce staff by 9.5 professional positions and 8.5 service jobs next school year. Positions set to be eliminated will end June 30.
West Virginia uses student population to determine the amount of funding each district will receive. The number of professional and personnel positions that fall outside that number must be paid for in other ways in each county.