Wed, May 23, 2018 12:28 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Opportunity at hand for Floyd County schools
News that the state Department of Education may be forced by financial constraints to cut back on the assistance it offers to struggling or failing school districts may have an unintended result.

It could mean the state's management of the Floyd County School District is about to come to an abrupt end.

Maybe it isn't unintended.

Maybe it is time for Floyd County to take back the reins and let the local board call the shots.

Sadly, though, there is evidence that the overbearing political influences that played a key role in the state takeover five years ago are still nipping at the Floyd district's heels, but we can hardly lay the blame for that on the board.

State Representative Greg Stumbo pulled an end run on the school board when he got a temporary ban inserted in the state budget bill that bars the board from closing or even replacing Prestonsburg Elementary School.

Tricks like that, on a much broader stage, are what brought state management to the district. When state managers arrived in 1998, there was every reason to believe that the Floyd County School District was so addicted to politics that its only hope for survival was a total makeover, not just a takeover.

Five years later there has been a turnaround, of sorts. The board is now made up of people who, before the state takeover, were considered to be the outsiders looking in, the people who really wanted to change the district for the better but who had no real power to do so.

Perhaps it is time now to see if they have the strength, without state management bodyguards, to lead Floyd County out of the wilderness.

State education officials said when they took over the district's management that Floyd County was "a ship without a rudder."

The rudder may well be repaired now, but we'll have to see if there is any wind in their sails.

The opportunity for that is at hand.

—Scott Perry

Appalachian Regaional
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