Cameron School Decisions Criticized

Editor, News-Register:

In light of the recent praise of the new Cameron Middle/ High School I would like to share some statistics and a different opinion.

Cameron’s population is 1,068. Moundsville’s population is 9,055. Both populations have steadily declined since the 2000 census.

Mingo Central High School in Mingo County was completed at a cost of $27,000,000 and houses 770 students.

Doddridge County is building a high school for the cost of an estimated $9.7 million. There are 706 students attending Doddridge County High School.

Cameron High School’s enrollment is 323 children grades 7-12. The estimated cost of the new Middle//High School is $37,500,000.

There were no other counties willing to consider constructing a high school for so few students. They consolidated.

I could not find blueprints for the new Cameron school (other counties post these documents). I am aware that there are two gymnasiums, a meat shop and an auditorium within the school grounds. Cameron busses special needs students age 3 and 4 to McNinch Primary to in Moundsville.

In the most recent levy, it was deemed not cost effective to keep most of the grade schools open in Moundsville. They were consolidated into McNinch. Primary grades pre-K-2 and Central Elementary grades 3-5. Grades 6-8 attend Moundsville Middle School. Grades 9-12 will attend John Marshall. Moundsville’s small children in their formative years are expected to transition three times in the 12 school years. They will no longer be afforded the stability of remaining in one school setting throughout grade school. Their other peers in Marshall County will not transition in the 3rd grade but in the 6th. It is my opinion that this places Moundsville’s primary and elementary students at a disadvantage.

Central Elementary and Moundsville Middle School did not meet AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) standards in 2010. These two schools enrollment are 821 students collectively.

I will be the first to admit that Cameron is a nice city. I have friends there. The residents have been taxpayers for years. However this type of extravagant spending in one small community during an economic crisis is inconceivable to me. When other schools are substandard in another community wherein I reside, with eight times as many taxpayers, this frivolous spending is inexcusable.

Couldn’t that money have been better spent assuring that everyone in the county receives the quality of education that they all deserve? Doesn’t it make more sense to have kept Moundsville’s grade schools open, not to have erected new middle schools and make John Marshall the middle school for both Sherrard and Moundsville? A new state-of-the-art school could have been constructed mid-point between Cameron and Moundsville, consolidating these two schools. It is obvious that administration does not mind bussing very small students the distance from Cameron to Moundsville. In a time when unemployment is high and our economy is the worst it has been since the Depression, as opposed to lauding this decision, it should be admonished. If you are outraged at this decision like I am there a several things we can do to assure this type of excessive spending does not recur.

1). I am a strong supporter of your basic levy for school supplies and books for the children but do not assume that every levy is in the best interests of the county. Read your levy proposal, ask questions and do not pass what you do not consider adequate distribution of the funding.

2.) Find out who were the incumbents on the Board of Education when this type of spending was approved and simply do not re-elect them.

3.) Write your senators and congressmen and relay to them that this is not acceptable spending and apparently the “No Child Left Behind” does not apply in Marshall County.

Remember “We are the people” and if we apathetically stand by and accept these decisions from bureaucracy we are part of the problem not a solution. I wish to thank the Wheeling News-Register for allowing me to voice my opinion.

Brenda Lavenski

Marshall County citizen