Debate Continues for WV School for Deaf and Blind

- ROMNEY, W.Va. - The West Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind Superintendent Dr. Lynn Boyer is at odds with her staff over a new state proposal, and State Senator Donald Cookman is stepping in.

This latest development comes after the state decided against a plan to move the school out of Romney last year. In April the state superintendent proposed requiring all staff members to have an associate degree, something many of the current employees do not have.

"Some people say that you know all that we've been doing, the picketing, the news releases, things like that are for not, but they have drawn a lot of attention to this problem. And practically I would note that even our local delegate now and other legislators are now taking heat, which they didn't before," Cookman said.  

Boyer said it was her choice to allow the child care workers to know for more than 15 months they would have to reconsider their jobs. However many are placing experience above education.

"The kids get upset the days we're not here. If we're off for sick leave or something like that. So they depend on us being here," child care worker Kim Buckley said.  "They're aware of what's going on and at night we have kids that come up and cry on our shoulders that say we don't want you to go, 'Kim are you coming back next year?'"

Boyer's proposal would allow child care workers five years to complete an Associates degree despite some employees saying their jobs are on the line.

"We will no longer have jobs. The new jobs will be advertised and we will have to reapply for those jobs if we're interested," Buckley said.

"Experience is huge. It will come to the table in the interview. You'll be asked about it, you'll be able to give examples of it, and it will carry weight in the interview," Boyer said.

Senator Cookman hopes with the help of Senate President Jeff Kessler and senate leadership, the proposed legislation will make it into a special session this Fall.

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