Taking Credit Where None Is Due


The levy was approved by about 69 percent of the voters yesterday and will provide (reportedly) about 25 percent of Monongalia County Schools’ budget. As we explained earlier, Mon Schools should have asked for more funds, which are badly needed.

Superintendent Devono laughably claims that the vote for the levy funds shows

“that the community once again chose to support the school system”‘ [and] “affirms what the board has been able to accomplish…”

Since the School Board almost always rubber stamps Superintendent Devono’s management of the school system, he is giving the Board, himself, and the school “system” all the credit for the levy funds approval. The vote shows no such thing. The levy vote was sold to the public as a way to provide support for the teachers and other workers and students, and it is in fact the school workers and students who are the beneficiaries of the levy funds and who deserve the credit for the levy approval.

Superintendent Devono doesn’t mention them, no surprise. He ignores the role of the teachers and service workers and students in the vote and takes all the credit for himself and the Board and their “system.”

In reality, the levy vote shows the support of the public for the workers and students despite the poor leadership of the Board and the Superintendent in many instances. The public generously votes for the levy despite the presence of top school officials who don’t even know how, why, or when to give credit where credit is due.

One is forced to hold one’s nose, given this particular School Board and Superintendent and the often inept way in which they use the rest of the budget and their responsibilities, to vote for the funds that the workers and children need – workers and students who go unmentioned by the Superintendent as he sops up credit about the results of the vote for the Board and for the “system” and by implication for himself, in a statement of pathetic comedy. It’s a kind of lie, a disturbingly common misdirection and deceit, or it’s a display of profound professional  incompetence.

The funds were overwhelmingly approved for the workers and students, and once again the Board and Superintendent failed to ask for enough funds for the workers and students, failed to ask for all the funds available, as these “leaders” continue to fail to do their jobs well.

Dominion Post reports in the same article, quoted above, that the levy mainly funds teachers and service workers and students, and this is where credit should be attributed for the results of the levy vote. Apparently it will take a different Superintendent and Board to readily and aptly give credit where credit is due. Board President Barbara Parsons also failed to attribute proper credit for the vote:

“We’re very pleased. We weren’t absolutely certain that we would win,” but the voters supported it. She thanked the levy committee for doing such a good job. It enables the school system to offer the necessities and some other important extras that some other systems can’t provide.

Notice how the teachers, the service workers, and the students don’t seem to exist to the Superintendent and Board President?

Below, the Dominion Post reports on who the voters actually approved the levy for, the workers and students, who are not otherwise  mentioned in the article, except for a token “serve the students” from the Superintendent, as the workers – teachers, bus drivers, and others – are completely blanked out.

Terry Hawkins, finance director for Monongalia County Schools, previously said the biggest portion of excess levy funds, about $12 million a year, supplements professional and service personnel salaries and benefits.

Hawkins said the levy provides professional personnel with…supplemental salary. Without the levy, staff members would have to deal with pay cuts.

The money is also used to pay for positions that the state doesn’t provide funds for, as well as dental and optical insurance for employees, according to officials.

The levy provides roughly $1.25 million annually to extracurricular programs. The money pays for athletic and academic events and upgrades to athletic facilities and playgrounds.

Hawkins said the excess levy will also help the county implement a new program that will allow students to get into all school events for free, including sporting events.

The levy was approved by the public for the school workers and the students and not for the Board and Superintendent and their “system”. That the Superintendent and Board President fail to give credit where credit is due and instead take the credit for themselves should surprise no one. Just another moment of low comedy at the top.

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