Barbour’s second achievement a stunner

The Barbour County community can be proud of several major accomplishments this year.

First, in January, parents and residents began to organize after hearing rumors that the Barbour County BOE planned to eliminate middle school sports in the county.

After the board did indeed vote to do away with all middle school coaching positions, the Barbour All County Sports Organization, other groups and a private donor raised and donated $34,000 to the BOE in April.

After receiving the privately raised funds, the Barbour board rescinded its vote to do away with the coaches.

Having already prevented middle school sports from disappearing due to budgetary decisions, Barbour residents again worked together this fall to save two county schools.

In mid-August, the Barbour BOE proposed closing two elementary schools, Volga-Century and Mt. Vernon Elementary, in order to save about $700,000 annually and avoid major renovation costs. The board set public hearings at the two schools, and one at Philippi Elementary School, where the children from the closed schools would attend in 2014.

Hundreds attended the public hearings, and dozens spoke before the board, asking the officials to keep the schools open.

On this editorial page, The Inter-Mountain praised the board members for listening respectfully to the residents, and asked them to take the taxpayers’ wishes into account when making their decision.

On Monday, the BOE members did just that, voting unanimously to keep both schools open. It was a surprising – perhaps even stunning -move, but one that showed the board was not only listening, but actually putting the community’s concerns first.

At a time when a government shutdown is making Americans wonder if their elected representatives ever listen to them at all, it is refreshing to see an example of government officials paying attention to their constituents’ wishes, and voting accordingly.