Princeton Times

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January 15, 2013

School board asks for local legislators' help

PRINCETON — The Mercer County Board of Education and Chief Judge Omar Aboulhosn asked for local legislators' help in funding their truancy program Tuesday evening. 

When the board agreed to send students that were missing exceptional amounts of school into programs from the Department of Health and Human Resources (students in K-5) and the juvenile probation system (6-12), the board also commiting to funding a juvenile probation position to handle some of the additional workload. 

With funding cuts expected, Superintendent Deborah Akers told legislators John Shott, Marty Gearhart, Bill Cole, Clif Moore, Joe Ellington, Truman Chafin that the board would have difficulty funding the position. 

Aboulhosn added that the truancy program had created several hundred new cases at the juvenile probation office and that the officer in question was handling a great deal of them. Without the officer's presence, the other workers would become overwhelmed and the other officers would become overwhelmed. In turn this would effect the efficiency of the program in Aboulhosn's view. 

"Keep in mind, that I have no financial interest in this," Aboulhosn said. "The primary beneficiaries of this program are the county school system and the students." 

Aboulhosn added that the West Virginia Supreme Court was looking to make the program into a "team effort" between several government agencies. He said the Supreme Court could fund the program but was looking to the legislature to commit to the program as well. 

"That's one of the problems," Akers said, "We will commit to something to get it started but then we don't stick with it." 

Then, Aboulhosn was asked to give an overview of the program and why it's funding is necessary to the Finance committee once the legislators get back to Charleston.

- Contact Matt Christian at mchristian@ptonline.net. 

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