West Virginia Thrived During Economic Downturn

It may come as a surprise to the rest of the nation, but the finances of school systems in West Virginia showed virtually none of the signs of a faltering economy during the years 2006 to 2011.

The state’s school districts were able to increase per-pupil spending by 26.7 percent, well beyond the national average, to reach $11,846. The amount spent on employee compensation increased 28 percent. Only three of the state’s 55 school districts spent less than the national average.

Teacher hiring was up 2 percent statewide, with the largest increases in Berkeley, Mingo and Boone counties. K-12 enrollment was up statewide, but unevenly distributed. Berkeley and Jefferson saw large increases, but Marshall and McDowell experienced sharp drops.