Opinion

W.Va. board should table superintendent hire

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Today in Charleston, the West Virginia Board of Education is expected to consider hiring Michael Martirano as the new Superintendent of Schools.

Since he was announced as the board’s choice last week, most consider it a forgone conclusion the board will vote at some point today to hire him.

But after a Charleston Gazette article revealed that there were financial problems in the Maryland school district that Martirano led, we believe the Board should table the vote until more information is available — and made public.

The Gazette’s article said the St. Mary’s school district budget was reported to have a $6 million deficit, and a statement released in April said officials would need to investigate the situation “because Martirano could not identify the source of the shortfalls.”

Eventually, the shortfall was blamed on unexpected health-care costs, a record-breaking winter and special-education costs, according to reports. But to balance the budget, 35 jobs were cut and no pay raises were given to teachers and staff, according to various new articles.

While that should create a degree of caution, what is most alarming to us is that the West Virginia Board of Education appeared to have no knowledge of the budget problems in the district Martirano has served for the past nine years.

Board President Gayle Manchin told the Gazette she wasn’t aware of the St. Mary’s school district controversy.

“Things can happen,” she told the Gazette

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