Superintendent: Ohio County Schools “will remain closed” until staff returns

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December 25 2021 12:00 am

Ohio County Schools released a statement on Facebook Sunday morning addressing the continued teacher work stoppage on Monday.

Superintendent Dr. Kim Miller addressed her meeting with the 54 other superintendents from across West Virginia and her trip to Charleston. 

Dr. Miller wrote in part that until she is “satisfied that Ohio County Schools will have adequate staff to safely conduct school, our schools will remain closed.”

A special Board of Education meeting will be held Monday at 7:30 a.m..

A copy of the full statement is posted below:

“On Friday March 2nd, the Ohio County Board of Education met in special session to discuss the ongoing work stoppage by teachers and service personnel throughout West Virginia. At that time, it appeared that the WV Legislature was on a path to a resolution given a new proposal by Governor Justice and nearly unanimous support by the WV House of Delegates.

Upon conclusion of the meeting, Board President Zach Abraham and I travelled to Charleston to meet with WV County Superintendents and WV Senate Leadership. Unfortunately, the Senate President was over 2 hours late for a meeting with the WV Superintendents. During our wait, I had the opportunity to discuss and listen to the other superintendent’s concerns and thoughts with respect to the current work stoppage. I can clearly state that all WV Superintendents are in total agreement that the passage of HB 4145 would have ended the work stoppage and open schools throughout the state on Monday, March 5th. 

During our wait, the Senate President sent his secretary into the room on numerous occasions telling us his arrival was 15 minutes away. After hours of waiting, several Superintendents voiced their displeasure and were told “You don’t have to be here.” To say this attitude was disheartening is an absolute understatement. Although it would have been easy to fracture, the unity of the WV Superintendents grew even more evident in our mutual desire to re-open WV schools and get back to our greatest mission of educating children.

Eventually, Senate President Carmichael and other WV Senators addressed the group and advised that HB 4145 would not pass the Senate due to insufficient funding mechanisms. During a spirited debate with the Superintendents, in became evident that Senator Carmichael was absolutely opposed to this piece of legislation. The WV Superintendents clearly stated the schools would re-open upon passage.

Immediately upon the Senate’s departure from this meeting, Governor Justice arrived to address the group. Governor Justice reiterated his support for the current legislation that provides a 5% raise, a freeze to PEIA, and the establishment of a PEIA taskforce. He advised all stakeholders in this current work stoppage to stay united until a resolution is reached.

I spent much of Saturday communicating with members of the Senate Finance committee, as well, as other Senators from around the state. Like all of you, I am confused about the events that unfolded yesterday in Charleston. Upon amendment of HB 4145 in the Senate Finance committee to a 4% raise, there appears to be some procedural mistakes among the passage of this bill.

Unfortunately, the WV Superintendents, administrators, teachers, service personnel, students and families, still remain uncertain as to the exact status of current legislation.

Today I will be conferencing with our local associations and board members to make a determination as to whether we will have the staffing available to conduct a productive educational day on Monday March 5th. We will attempt to make this determination as early as possible to allow for adequate time for all those affected to make the necessary arrangements. Until I am satisfied that Ohio County Schools will have adequate staff to safely conduct school, our schools will remain closed.

A special meeting of the Ohio County Board of Education will be held at 7:30am on Monday March 5th at the Ohio County Board of Education.

Dr. Miller”

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