Job cuts likely in light of Randolph Co. school staying open

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DAILEY, W.Va. (WDTV)- Personnel cuts may be in the future for Randolph County school employees. Now that Homestead Elementary isn't going to close, the school system is looking for ways to manage its already strained financial situation.

"We will have to look closely at all of our schools in order to determine anywhere where we could possibly reduce some staff, both professional and service," said Pam Hewitt, county schools superintendent.

Hewitt says the county is already on the state's "watch list" because of funding issues and Homestead's building, built in the 1930's, has the potential for big costs.

"If the heating system were to go down or if there were to be roof issues like we experienced last year, any and all of those things are high-dollar items," she continued. "With the closure of Valley Head that will assist us somewhat; however, the staff at Valley Head was reasonably small anyway."

Valley Head Elementary is scheduled to close after this school year. Closing both Homestead Elementary and Valley Head would have saved the county $1 million, but the people in Dailey at Valley Head say this trade-off is better for the children.

"I feel it is best for the kids right now because they would've been split into two different schools," said Suzanne Cain, Homestead's principal. "Hopefully there will be enough people retired that anybody that's cut will be able to get their job back."

She and some teachers had a positive outlook even with the notice of personnel cuts.

"I'm sad over that fact and I'm sad that one other school is being closed. That community to them means just as much to them as our community does to us," Cain said. "We're going to have to step it up as a school and as a community to help Randolph County do what's best for the kids."

Cain hopes to get some grants based off the school's historic value to help out the county. For a closer look into the school system's financial woes, see Hewitt's interview above.