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Mon BOE meets with lawmakers prematurely of Legislative session

Monongalia County Board of Schooling member Mike Kelly used a college bus analogy to ship a facts-of-life message from the board to space lawmakers final week.

Say there are 70 college students in that bus, Kelly’s analogy went, when it rolls as much as the entrance of a college.

Thirty college students disembark, and that hypothetical bus then cruises off to a different college for one more drop-off, and one other after that.

Both means, the longtime BOE incumbent mentioned, that bus nonetheless must be on the street, doing what it does.

“It’s going to value the identical amount of cash to function it,” Kelly mentioned, “whether or not it has 70 college students or 50 college students or 40 college students.”

And that was the purpose, he mentioned.

Mon’s college district nonetheless has issues it has to do each day, he and his fellow board members mentioned, it doesn’t matter what.

It has to do this, the BOE mentioned, underneath the shadow of ongoing enrollment challenges wrought by constitution faculties.

Work has to start with ongoing personnel shortages coupled with the emotional stressors college students may be bringing from dwelling after they step off that bus and into the primary hallway each morning, it mentioned.  

Tuesday’s assembly was a Mon BOE signature piece.

Board members at all times get with lawmakers this time of yr for dinner and casual dialogue.

Name it a neighborhood opening act to the state Legislative session, which gavels in subsequent month in Charleston.

Delegates Joe Statler and Anitra Hamilton sat in for this one, together with Sen. Mike Caputo and Wendy Madden, who does group outreach work for West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin from Capitol Hill.

Statler is a former elected member of the Mon board and in addition served stints as its president earlier than leaving to pursue state workplace.

Prepared or not, a renaissance

What was Statler’s district, as mentioned — isn’t the identical one now.  

These aforementioned charters are actually a part of the enterprise of educating and studying right here.

And so is the shift from conventional classroom studying to profession technical training, which goes to be the large bus in coming years for Mon’s district.

Supplied the voters get on board, that’s.

A part of Tuesday’s speak was given over to a presentation from the DLR Group.

DLR is the architectural agency designing the Renaissance Academy, a standalone STEM college (science, know-how, engineering and math) that may serve college students from the county’s three public excessive faculties.

The district desires to have the academy open to college students by 2027.

That’s going to take a bond to occur, nevertheless.

Residents are beneficiant to Mon County Faculties come election day, historically voting within the affirmative for an extra levy for training that brings one other $30 million a yr to district coffers.

Preliminary estimates put the academy within the $70 million vary — however that doesn’t embody any unexpected points on the deliberate website for its campus.

That’s on an a 135-acre expanse close to Cassville, on an increase overlooking Interstate 79.

Like a variety of such properties throughout the Mountain State, it was additionally dwelling to a former strip mine, which could result in different infrastructure points, as soon as the earth is turned.

Which might add {dollars} to a undertaking that’s already a giant promote, the BOE mentioned.

In the meantime, {dollars} are being taken away from the district each time a neighborhood pupil enrolls in a constitution college.

In Morgantown and Monongalia County, that’s the West Virginia Academy.

The West Virginia Academy is the state’s first brick-and-mortar constitution college, and its board is already planning a department campus in neighboring Preston County, based mostly on enrollment curiosity.

The bus stops right here?

Each time a pupil from the district transfers to that faculty, or any such college, $4,300 goes, additionally.

That’s the per-pupil allotment given as a part of the state College Assist System.

With Morgantown’s constitution and the opposite charters throughout the state nonetheless gaining their educational legs, some college students switch again to their earlier dwelling faculties, after weeks or months.

The catch, although, is that the state assist cash they took with them initially — doesn’t come again with them.

So far, Mon’s district has misplaced 348 college students to the West Virginia Academy, which comes out to $2 million much less for public faculties, as per the components.

“Does that concern you?” Caputo requested.

“We’re involved in regards to the cash,” Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr., replied, “as a result of it means assets.”

And, identical to Kelly’s hypothetical bus, the district nonetheless has to maintain going.

It doesn’t matter what, the superintendent mentioned.

Caputo, in the meantime, will hold going for yet another Legislative session.

After this one gavels to an in depth, so too will his 27-year profession in public life. He’s retiring from politics.

If you happen to can’t cease the bus fully, he advised the board, you’ll be able to nonetheless take your foot off the fuel every so often.

That’s why he provided up his private cellular phone quantity to Mon’s BOE, within the occasion of any points that may come up at dwelling whereas lawmakers are convening in Charleston.

“All of West Virginia,” he joked, has that quantity anyway.

“Ship me a textual content,” he mentioned.

“We are able to no less than get some extra individuals within the room, to perhaps sluggish it down a bit whereas we discuss it.”

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