Letter to the editor: Figures do lie - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Letter to the editor: Figures do lie

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  • Officials confirm "inappropriate behavior " at Shady Spring football game

    Officials confirm "inappropriate behavior " at Shady Spring football game

    Officials confirm "inappropriate behavior " at Shady Spring football game

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:21 PM EDT2014-09-02 20:21:17 GMT
    Shady Spring High school's season opener versus Princeton High school had what students call a disturbance.Director of People Services, Jeff McClung, did confirm that some students were acting out."Shady Spring High School administration has notified the county office of inappropriate behavior at the game. I'm proud of the diligence they've had at the game enforcing the school policies," McClung Said.Students told me they witnessed over 10 of their fellow students sneaking alcohol into the ga...
    Shady Spring High school's season opener versus Princeton High school had what students call a disturbance.Director of People Services, Jeff McClung, did confirm that some students were acting out."Shady Spring High School administration has notified the county office of inappropriate behavior at the game. I'm proud of the diligence they've had at the game enforcing the school policies," McClung Said.Students told me they witnessed over 10 of their fellow students sneaking alcohol into the ga...
  • Mercer County man sentenced on child porn charges

    Mercer County man sentenced on child porn charges

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:03 PM EDT2014-09-02 20:03:45 GMT
    A child pornography case out of Mercer County lead to the sentencing of a Bluefield, WV man on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. David A. Punturi, 54, will serve nine years in federal prison and 20 years of supervised release, after being sentenced in front of Judge David A. Faber.
    A child pornography case out of Mercer County lead to the sentencing of a Bluefield, WV man on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. David A. Punturi, 54, will serve nine years in federal prison and 20 years of supervised release, after being sentenced in front of Judge David A. Faber.
  • Victim identified in fatal accident near Cyclone, WV

    Victim identified in fatal accident near Cyclone, WV

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:11 PM EDT2014-09-02 18:11:16 GMT
    According to officials in Wyoming County, the driver was thrown from the vehicle.
    According to officials in Wyoming County, the driver was thrown from the vehicle.
  • ColumnsMore>>

  • What they don't know about energy production

    What they don't know about energy production

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-09-02 10:00:13 GMT
    I really get upset when people call us hillbillies. As I get to visit with people around the country on my “Just the Fracks” book tour, I am learning a lot about what Americans think and know about energy. It seems that the further I get from West Virginia the less people know about where their energy comes from. I have heard some incredible things.
    I really get upset when people call us hillbillies. As I get to visit with people around the country on my “Just the Fracks” book tour, I am learning a lot about what Americans think and know about energy. It seems that the further I get from West Virginia the less people know about where their energy comes from. I have heard some incredible things.
  • Hydraulic fracturing could improve geothermal energy

    Hydraulic fracturing could improve geothermal energy

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-09-01 10:00:21 GMT
    A recent issue of The Economist had an article titled “Geothermal Energy, Hot Rocks, Why Geothermal Is the New Fracking.” The month before, a New York Times article titled, “Geothermal Industry Grows, With Help from Oil and Gas Drilling.”
    A recent issue of The Economist had an article titled “Geothermal Energy, Hot Rocks, Why Geothermal Is the New Fracking.” The month before, a New York Times article titled, “Geothermal Industry Grows, With Help from Oil and Gas Drilling.”
  • Changes to the oil, gas industry create benefits, concern

    Changes to the oil, gas industry create benefits, concern

    Sunday, August 31 2014 4:00 PM EDT2014-08-31 20:00:17 GMT
    Robert N. Hart
    Robert N. Hart

In the April 3 edition of The State Journal, Marshall Washington, president of New River Community and Technical College, implied that I, Kenneth A. Culp, provided false and misleading information to the Journal about the massive losses at the college.

While it is true that I provided The State Journal with information about the college, all of it came directly from Mr. Washington. I, however, had no input into the article and have just today seen the articles published in this newspaper.

Having said that, I stand by my position that the college receives 82 percent of its funding directly from the taxpayers, amounting to over $18 million per year and projected to increase to $23 million by 2017. The college writes off over 60 percent of all revenues that are billed to students and this money is never collected. To my way of thinking, this is just bad management. No private company could survive writing off 60 percent of its revenues. Of the remaining 40 percent, which the college does collect, virtually all of that is covered by “Student Financial Aid.” The net effect is that the college collects no money directly from the students.

In 2014 the college is going to spend another $12 million of taxpayer money to build new facilities in Beckley. Because of the way this money is accounted for, none of it ever shows up as an expense to the college (i.e. the losses are larger than reported). Who knows how much more money the college has received in this manner over the years that has not been reported as an expense of the college?

According to the financial projections of the college, the taxpayer funding for 2014 is projected as follows (rounded to the nearest $1,000):

  •  Federal Contracts & Grants — $2,541,000
  • State Contracts & Grants — $2,894,000
  • State Appropriations — $5,407,000
  • Restricted State Appropriations — $500,000
  • Federal Pell Grants — $7,210,000
  • New Campus building in Beckley — $12,000,000
  • State Capital Payments — $632,000
  • Total Taxpayer Funds — $31,184,000

I challenge Mr. Washington to refute these figures as they were prepared by Suttle and Stalnaker, CPAs from information provided by the college. Frankly, I do not know what the “Contracts & Grants” are, but the footnotes to the financial statements state “Government grants and contracts normally provide for the recovery of direct and indirect costs, subject to audit” (i.e. taxpayer money). The Pell Grants are also taxpayer money that comes from the federal government.

According to the college’s own figures, the graduation rates fell from 14 percent in 2009 to 9 percent in 2013. I don’t know how these numbers are calculated, but a 14 percent graduation rate is appalling. On top of this, less than 50 percent of those students who do graduate get a job in their field of study. Mr. Washington says that these figures, which the college provided, are misleading. However, he has failed to support that claim. He also stated that we shouldn’t look at the losses of the college but rather should be looking at the “net position” of the college. What taxpayers really need to look at is how much taxpayer money is being spent by this college and are the results worth the money. The taxpayers are projected to spend over $31 million in 2014 with lousy results, as reported above. Why are we throwing taxpayer money away on such a failed program? We could serve six times more students by giving $20,000 per year to 1,000 students to go to school anywhere they choose!

Now, the college wants to waste another $13 million in taxpayer money to build a new campus at Glade Creek Business Park in Nicholas County. They plan to lease/purchase 55 acres in the park, of which they plan to use 13 acres to build a 48,000 square foot facility. The college and the Nicholas County Building Commission refuse to disclose what the college plans to do with the remaining 42 acres. Why? The college and the Building Commission also refuse to disclose the proposed terms of this sale. Why? What do they have to hide? The 55 acres that the college is leasing will take up virtually all of the prime commercial property in the park. This Business Park was funded with taxpayer money to develop private businesses that would create real jobs (as opposed to more taxpayer funded government jobs) and increase the tax base in the county. The college will pay no property taxes because it is owed by the state.

Mr. Washington bragged that the college has obtained $300,000 per year in state appropriations to pay down the loan. However, once again, this is taxpayer money. With the national debt, including the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare, amounting to $1.9 million for each and every family of four, we can no longer afford to (waste) more taxpayer money on wasteful projects like this one. The federal government now spends over $50,000 per year for each and every family of four. Think about that. They spend more than the average family earns. It is our children and grandchildren who will be burdened with this crushing debt. Therefore, I challenge all those who support this project, including the Nicholas County Commission, the City of Summersville, the Nicholas County Building Commission and Mr. Washington, to put their money where their mouth is: If this project results in losses to the taxpayers that they guarantee to personally reimburse the taxpayers for said losses.

Kenneth Culp
Nicholas County