West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind

Cecelia Mason

The former superintendent of West Virginia's state schools for blind and deaf students has filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse his firing.

On The Legislature Today, Secretary of State Mac Warner says changing the make-up of his office was necessary after his election in order to move in a new direction. 

A number of the 16 employees were considering filing a wrongful termination lawsuit, but Warner defended his decision saying some of the staff hired to replace them will be out in the field working directly with county clerks, the elected officials he'll work with directly to administer elections. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House voted on two education-related bills Tuesday – one that would give The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind access to the School Building Authority and another aimed at giving higher education institutions more control of their own affairs.

On The Legislature Today, the Chairs of the House and Senate Finance Committees are digging deep into state agencies to find efficiencies or cuts that could potentially save the state money. 

Del. Eric Nelson and Sen. Mike Hall discuss the state's $497 million budget gap for the 2018 Fiscal Year and how they intend to fix it. 

Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

During both the 2015 and the 2016 state Legislative sessions, the House of Delegates pushed a bill that would make the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind eligible for funding from the West Virginia School Building Authority, or SBA. In 2015, it was vetoed by then-Governor Tomblin, and in 2016, it never made it out of the Senate’s Finance committee. Now, members in the House are trying once again this year, with House Bill 2123.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House of Delegates has passed a bill to aid the state’s struggling Schools for the Deaf and Blind in Romney, West Virginia.

House Bill 4147 would make the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind eligible for funding from the West Virginia School Building Authority or SBA. The SBA awards some $50 million dollars in additional funds each year to county school systems for building or renovation projects.

West Virginia Department of Education

The finance director of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind will serve as the school's administrator until a new superintendent is hired.

Superintendent Lynn Boyer will retire on June 30.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Ashton Marra reports that Governor Tomblin has asked the state board of education to study the viability of the Schools for the Deaf and Blind in Romney.  That story on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning,  two stories from Romney in Hampshire County.  Ashton Marra reports from the schools for the deaf and blind about its future.  And Jesse Wright reports on a groundbreaking ceremony for a new home designed for a severely wounded veteran.  These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.


Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Lawmakers from the Eastern Panhandle tried two separate times to aid the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind during the 2015 legislative session. The schools are struggling to maintain their buildings, some of which are more than 100 years, and looked to the Legislature this year to begin to help them meet their facilities goals. 

Those goals, contained in the schools' 10 year Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan, including closing and demolishing some buildings on campus to create a "stronger sense of community," according to Superintendent Dr. Lynn Boyer. 

The plan includes updated housing for residential students, increased building security and the installation of fire and sprinkler systems suitable for deaf and hearing impaired and blind and visually impaired students and teachers. The plan, however, comes with a $42 million price tag.


West Virginia Department of Education

The superintendent of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind is stepping down.

Lynn Boyer notified the West Virginia Board of Education last week that she will retire on June 30.

The board appointed Boyer in 2011 to lead the Romney schools following a 2010 audit that found deficiencies in leadership, curriculum, safety and technology.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  Saying no to raw milk is just one of a wave of recent vetoes made by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

The Democrat nixed 10 bills Wednesday, including the proposal that would have let people drink raw milk through herd-sharing agreements.

Another vetoed bill would have let home-schooled students get PROMISE scholarships without a general equivalency degree.

Governor Questions Concealed Carry Bill

Mar 13, 2015

  At the Legislature today, Senators begin to focus in on the state's four billion dollar budget as they wait for Delegates to approve some major pieces of legislation, like charter schools and campaign finance reform. The West Virginia schools for the deaf and blind will be eligible for funding from the School Building Authority for badly needed improvements under a bill passed by the senate finance committee today.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The state Board of Education heard from child care workers at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind Wednesday morning about an upcoming change in their job requirements. The board decided in March those workers will now be required to obtain an associates degree.

The 35 workers who currently hold positions at the Romney schools have until 2018 to obtain a degree, but there’s no guarantee even then that they will keep their jobs.

Courtesy Photo

Some students at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind are protesting a new policy that requires child care workers at the school to have an associate degree.

Ten students conducted a protest against the change Monday morning outside the school in Romney

Fifteen-year-old Brooklyn Phares says the workers are like parents to the students.

The employees work during non-instructional hours with students who live in the school's dorms. Beginning July 1, 2015, the jobs will be changed to residential care specialist positions, with higher salaries.

Workers who don't have degrees must obtain them within three years.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind is controversially changing the job description and requiring more education for the house parents who watch children living on campus. New technology is being used to track the population of deer around the state. Wheeling Jesuit University celebrates Appalachia through a series of lectures.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Over the past two days, 18 counties presented their facility needs to the state School Building Authority in Charleston. The requests totaled more than $100 million, but the agency only has about $45 million to give. That means some tough choices between deserving projects across the state.

Here is a list of those projects and their estimated costs.

Doddridge County:

  • $898,128 for two new classrooms at Doddridge County Elementary School
  • $398,128 in SBA funds

Gilmer County:

Child care workers at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind will be required to have an associate degree in to order to keep their jobs.
 
These employees work during non-instructional hours with students who live in the Romney school's dorms.
 

The Senate tackles issues related to corrections as well as roads. The  House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee takes a look at bills related to timber theft and fertilizers. Department of Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick talks about farming issues around the state and Cecelia Mason highlights the work of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind. Also, the students of those schools give a performance for Senate members to close out our show.

Ashton Marra

Students from around West Virginia who attend the state Schools for the Deaf and Blind visited the Capitol today to perform a medley of songs centered on their home state.

Located on 79 acres in Romney in Hampshire County, the school was established in 1870. Today enrollment totals about 120 children and teens.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the mayor of Huntington visits with some Marshall University students.

Also, an update from the Schools for the Deaf and Blind, and an interesting story about a special landmark in Pocahontas County.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Governor Tomblin explains proposed legislation to protect water supplies from potential chemical leaks,  the House of Delegates passes a bill that increases penalties for littering and honors the life of former Delegate Joe Talbott, environmental consultants Downstream Strategies critique proposed legislation that hopes to prevent another water crisis, and the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind updates their curriculum and allows some students to attend on a temporary basis.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A deeper analysis of 'Who Owns West Virginia?', a family-owned "choose-and-cut" Christmas tree farm in Mercer County, a popular live Christmas tree known as the Canaan Fir struggles in the wild, and Christmas ornaments made by the students at the Schools for the Deaf and Blind.

Cecelia Mason / WV Public Radio

Some members of the West Virginia Board of Education took a tour of the Schools for the Deaf and Blind in Romney, W.Va., Wednesday. The Board’s monthly meeting took place on the campus and  prior to the

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meeting members walked through the facility to see how students are educated there and what kind of renovations are needed.

Gayle Manchin, board president, was impressed with some of the rooms she saw during the tour, commenting on how cozy they looked.