Add Wood County education forum

The legislature proposed a controversial education bill that stirred a lot of controversy and failed in the House. A clean salary raise for teachers failed in the Senate. The governor has called for a special session to deal with educational matters. The State Department of Education has scheduled seven forums around the state.

Wood County is the fifth largest county. No meetings are being held within an hour’s drive of Wood County. This is going to deter a significant portion of the State’s population, including me, from attending a meeting. The News and Sentinel had a poll asking if people were planning on attending an educational forum. I had to answer “No” because of the distance I would have to travel. A more significant question would be “If an education forum were held in Wood County would you attend?” I would have responded “Yes” to that question.

The editor in an editorial stressed the interest education issues had stirred and stated that the meetings in Harrison County and Wheeling were close enough to attend. Actually the one in Charleston is closer than the one in Wheeling. Mapquest estimates the driving time from Parkersburg High to the meeting place in Charleston as 1 hour, 24 minutes, in Clarksburg as 1 hour, 22 minutes, and to Wheeling 1 hour, 49 minutes. Wood County is a large county. Driving times vary by driver and starting point. From my home in Vienna, I allow two hours to reach either Charleston or Clarksburg and close to three hours to reach Wheeling. This means that trying to get to a currently scheduled meeting that starts at 6 o’clock at night is too onerous for me.

I feel the State Board is denying me the chance to participate in the significant educational decisions currently being made. I hope that many residents of the county will contact the State Board of Education either by phone or mail asking that an eighth meeting be scheduled for Wood County. We need to tell our legislators, as our representatives, that we want a local education forum. Groups could collect signatures and submit petitions to the State Board for a forum.

State Superintendent of Schools: Dr. Steven Paine phone: 304-358-3660, address: Building 6, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E , #351, Charleston, WV 25308.

There was no email published on the State Department of Education website.

Judith Peascoe