By Amber Bass
Clay County’s Board of Education is at the forefront of widespread speculation. Budget issues as well as employee salaries have been in question within the community. Kenneth Tanner, superintendent, spoke about these issues to ease concerns regarding incorrect information perpetuated though media. The Westest is the newest area of concern among citizens. “Though I cannot release specific information at this time, we are very excited about impending results. Last year, as a county, we were ranked 21st in reading and math amongst 55 counties. This year we we’re shooting for the top 10.” stated Tanner “But we will just say that until results are released, we’re expecting better than 21st.” Clay was proud to hold the number one spot for best reading and language arts in the state for fourth graders. If these scores hold to be true then a state “take over” based on scores and budget deficit will not occur, as rumored.
“I have spoken with The State Board of Education and posed the question of a take-over. They have no such arrangements. Clay is one of nine counties working with a shortage. However, we did make a plan of action for budget cuts and rebounding from our situation. As things are, we are about $600,000 in debt, that’s a fair estimate.” Tanner stated that the Board has taken drastic measures to deal with the loss of coal severance. Tanner himself; though contracted to receive a $3,000 raise by contract, states that not only did he decline the raise but deducted $2,000 from his salary. “If everyone else was feeling the pinch, I was going to as well. I am not immune to it.” Clay sits at the bottom 3 to lowest superintendant salaries in West Virginia.