MADISON — An upcoming move to cut 77 positions in the Boone County School system coupled with the recent approval of a program of yearly raises for the county’s superintendent has caused a furor among parents and reportedly led to scenes of children crying in the halls of a local high school.
In an interview with the Coal Valley News, Boone County Superintendent of Schools John Hudson admitted the optics and timing of the issues are unfortunate; however, Hudson noted systemic issues related to population loss and declining tax revenues are the at the heart of the county’s financial problems.
Hudson explained tax revenues surrounding the coal industry in Boone County have historically allowed the county to employ around 100 more staff members over what state funding alone would allow.
From Dec. 1, 2015 to Jan. 8, 2016, Hudson reports the county conducted an enrollment count and found 63 students have left the district since the start of the school year.
Over the last year, Boone County has closed three schools.
Hudson explained, as a result of dwindling tax revenues and enrollment, “… I am recommending to the board about 60 professional positions be terminated — and those do include some administrative staff at the district and school level…”
Seventeen service personnel positions are also scheduled to be terminated.
Because of the cuts, Hudson will not receive a raise until the 2017-2018 school year.
Hudson currently makes around $130,000 a year which reportedly ranks high among many W.Va. counties, but Hudson reports his pay ranks low among other counties in the Regional Educational Services Agencies (RESA) division to which Boone County belongs.
Hudson reports he is personally notifying staff whose positions are being terminated.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-369-1165 ext. 1661 or by email at email@example.com.