FAYETTEVILLE — West Virginia Education Association representative Ben Barkey addressed Fayette County Board of Education members Monday evening regarding both a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by a local WVEA member and proposed job reductions.

According to Barkey, Fayette County schools superintendent Chris Perkins responded verbally to the FOIA request by Dale Arrington. According to Fayette County school board president Dave Arritt, Perkins has already answered the request twice in previous meetings.

However, Barkey wants the board to turn over to Arrington the printed information he has requested. Barkey emphasized that he seeks to save the WVEA and the Fayette County school board from legal expenses.

“It should be available for public scrutiny,” said Barkey, referring to an audit of Collins Middle School performed last year by Fayetteville accountant Leland O’Neal that some believe to be superfluous, financially unnecessary and possibly politically motivated.

The school, along with two others in Fayette County, had already been audited by state auditors when O’Neal was contracted to perform a second audit.

Barkey described Fayette County’s list of proposed reductions in force (RIF) as “long” and urged board members to consider that federal stimulus money is soon to arrive.

Perkins explained that he met recently with the state superintendent of schools, who assured Perkins that county school boards will be provided with guidance as to how those federal dollars are to be spent.

Perkins added that Fayette County is indeed on the receiving end of part of that economic bailout package.

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In other business:

-- Fayetteville High School student Nash Gwinn spoke against the imminent return to an eight-period classroom schedule and in favor of the current block scheduling. He lauded the benefits of the latter.

Michelle Gwinn concurred with the sentiments of her son. Arritt agreed to take the matter under advisement.

-- Board members voted 5-0 to extend the assignment of Paula Fridley as interim treasurer of Fayette County’s schools.

Fridley was tapped unanimously by the board Oct. 30 as the six-month interim treasurer for the school system. She replaced Annette Hughart, who was suspended last September and terminated by the board the next month.

— E-mail: mhill@register-herald.com

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