(04/10/2021)
By Bob Weaver

Calhoun Superintendent of Schools Kelli Whytsell says the WV Legislature bill SB 711 died in the House Finance committee, a bill that would provide additional funding for a number of low enrollment county systems.

A 20-year effort to amend the state's school funding formula continues to fail, an effort that would help Calhoun Schools in a county that has declined school enrollment and does not have a levy.

The amended formula would fund all county systems as if they had 1,200 students.

Despite low enrollment, county systems have fixed or mandatory costs.

"The Calhoun central office has worked hard with our legislative members to get Senate Bill 711 developed and passed. The bill has been critical to Calhoun County," said Whytsell.

Calhoun County has received two ESSER grants, one for $367,332.70 and one for $206,431.85. The $367,332.70 grant has been used for employment of three custodians, one at each school.

"These custodians have helped with all of the sanitation needed with this year. The funds have also been used for cleaning supplies, professional development, and related COVID expenses," Whytsell said.

The $206,431.85 is a technology grant that be used to purchase technology for students and staff.

Many of the current legislative bills seem directed to de-constructing the public school system, using public money to fund private charter schools, including a funding check for home schoolers.

In 2020, here were 9,300 fewer students in West Virginia this school year than last and the decrease could cost the public education system nearly $43 million in state funding.

Calhoun, now with a low student population of 862 (2020), a near record loss of 101 students. Calhoun has continued to struggle to provide basic services with School Funding Formula allocations, with local school superintendents for years pleading with the state to create a bottom-line cash number to keep them going.

Calhoun had 1,700 students enrolled 30 years ago

. WV schools are struggling to provide teachers.

Board member Tom Campbell, a former delegate and former chairman of the House Education Committee, said losing $42 million would mean a cut in 500 teaching positions and 300 school service personnel.

Calhoun School Enrollment: Loss/Gain: 1991-1992 1700 +15 1992-1993 1689 -11 1993-1994 1705 +16 1994-1995 1671 -34 1995-1996 1633 -38 1996-1997 1589 -44 1997-1998 1558 -31 1998-1999 1476 -82 1999-2000 1430 -46 2000-2001 1318 -112 2001-2002 1289 -29 2002-2003 1283 -6 2003-2004 1216 -67 2004-2005 1187 -29 2005-2006 1180 -7 2006-2007 1153 -27 2007-2008 1151 -2 2008-2009 1126 -25 2009-2010 1104 -22 2010-2011 1122 +18 2011-2012 1137 +15 2012-2013 1083 -54 2013-2014 1069 -14 2014-2015 1066 -3 2015-2016 1055 -11 2016-2017 1051 -4 2017-2018 1028 -23 2018-2019 977 -51 2019-2020 963 -13 2020-2021 862 -101


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