However, voters saw otherwise. They rejected by a resounding margin a constitutional amendment that year that would have placed the Board of Education (and thus, public schools) under the auspices of Education and the Arts. Only 12 percent of voters supported the amendment.
In anticipation of that failed consolidation, Caperton had already moved the Center for Professional Development (which oversees continuing education programs for teachers and public school administrators) under Education and the Arts, where it has remained.
The education audit points out the inefficiency of that arrangement, and proposes moving the center back under the Board of Education.
However, it also calls for expanding the role of the secretary of Education and the Arts as a watchdog and advocate for the executive branch over the Board of Education.
It goes so far as to mention Secretary Kay Goodwin by name, calling her a "forceful and talented exponent of that role."
Some have latched on to that as evidence that the Manchin-backed school board members are trying to achieve through practice what Caperton could not achieve by law.
However, as long as the board is a constitutionally independent body, any influence the secretary could have over it would be fleeting.
Finally, Charles Riecks sends word that the August 2013 issue of Trains magazine will be a special issue devoted to railroading in West Virginia.
Topics planned for the issue include: main lines and operations, coal mines and branch-line operations, railroad towns, traditions and heritage railroads, a West Virginia photo gallery, and a map comparing West Virginia's railroads in 1940 with those of today.
The timing is ideal, with the opening of the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve expected to spike ridership on Amtrak's Cardinal service.
Speaking of, Riecks also notes that the Prince Railroad Station Authority, created by the Legislature in March to operate and upgrade the Amtrak station closest to the Boy Scouts camp, is on track (pun intended), with David Gay of Beckley serving as chairman.
The authority is working with faculty at the West Virginia University College of Law to transfer ownership of the historic station from CSX.
The station currently boards about 3,200 passengers a year, a number expected to more than double with shuttle service to the Scouts camp, located about seven miles away.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.