Gilmer Co. Schools Regains Local Control After State Takeover

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Almost six years ago, the state department of education took control over the Gilmer County Schools. 

This week, the school system regained local control. 

WBOY checked in with the superintendent to find out what changes were made over the past few years. 

The state took over the school system in 2011 charging the Board of Education and staff with making improvements to curriculum, finances, personnel and facilities. 

In 2014, Superintendent Gabe Devono was hired. 

“I had four goals,” said Superintendent Gabe Devono. “That Gilmer County and Lewis County would have the first inter county school. To get that up and running which is going into its second year now. Build a state of the art elementary school which we just finished and our kids are in it now. And then to get our test scores up and to get us off of state takeover.”

Devono worked with staff, as well as academic coaches to improve student achievement.

“Implement the STAR assessment program which did math and science and we assess our children every three months to see where we stand,” said Devono. 

Devono says despite battles at time with board of education members, he was able to make adjustments to the $12 million dollar budget mandated by the state. 

“There is a formula they use and they just say this is how many teachers we will pay for, how many service personnel we will pay for.” said Devono. 

With the budget meeting state approval, Devono braces for another cut from lawmakers after losing over $40,000 last year. 

“$44,000 to us is like $2 or $3 million dollars to another county,” said Devono. 

Devono is contracted to remain as the superintendent until June 30. Until then Devono says he has another project on the check list. 

“I will try to look into the community to see if they want a middle school. At one time last year, we checked with our people in our community and they wanted a middle school,” said Devono. 

Jessica Hall with the West Virginia Department of Education says since 2011 only Gilmer County was taken over by the state.

Hall said the state intervened in Mingo County in 2005 and control was returned in 2014; Lincoln in 2008, and partial control was given back in 2009, full control in 2012; McDowell in 2001 with partial control returned in 2010 and full control returned in 2013; Preston and Grant in 2009 with full control being returned in 2014.

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