Whether to hire a communications director divides BOE

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Board of Education discussed at its meeting Thursday night whether the district should look into hiring a communications director.

The board was split on whether such a position was needed. Pete Thaw, who was vehemently opposed to creating the position, made a motion to table the idea until further notice. It was voted down 3-2, which means the board could discuss it in the future. Thaw thought creating a new position would lead to having to hire more within the field.

“Who is the first guy you hire after hiring a communications director? His assistant. And the next person is his secretary,” Thaw said. “So we’ve already hired 3 and we’re over $100,000. And (then) they’ll want a raise.”

Board member Ryan White spoke at the meeting pushing for a new position, pointing out that many other school districts similar in size to Kanawha County and some smaller have communications directors. He said the most important thing it would do is involve the parents more.

“From the time I took office I’ve talked about parent involvement,” White said. “If you look at any educational study they’ll say that the key thing to parental involvement is communications. We need to get our parents more involved and give our teachers a better morale.”

Thaw insisted there was no need for a communications director considering that most feedback the BOE has gotten on the topic is positive.

“Even his (White’s) foppish report that they gave admitted that 41 percent said we do a good job and 15 percent said we do an excellent job.”

After Thaw’s motion to table the matter was not passed, BOE President Robin Rector recommended that some research be done into what similar positions pay in other districts.

The idea could be discussed again at the next Kanawha County BOE meeting on July 6.