A representative from the U.S. Department of Education sent Post reporters an email Thursday afternoon saying she had talked with Duerring and that he "doesn't support" the Post's stories. The representative also suggested the Post call Duerring to "hear his side."
When asked if he was contacted or pressured by the U.S. department to backtrack the county's original statement, Duerring said, "That couldn't be farther from the truth.
"That has nothing to do with it. That has never had anything to do with it from day one. I have made this statement not only in principal meetings, but in board meetings -- that federal cuts were coming with sequestration. We are not backtracking," he said. "The issue is in this day in age, one of our statements made by a person here was misunderstood, and that was not done to be intentional, so because of that we had to set the record straight.
"In this whole new world of tweets, it's more viral. So, the only way to correct something anymore is to establish some kind of tweet or something so that people understand that it was misunderstood," Duerring said. "We have said all along that sequestration was a factor to put teachers on transfer."
Though Duncan's statement about teacher layoffs in Kanawha County was inaccurate, Duerring said he was right because "teachers are already feeling it."
"If we knew our budgets weren't going to have to be cut through sequestration, we might not have had to put so many of our teachers on transfer," Duerring said. "But, because we don't know the amount, but we do know it's coming, we couldn't take the chance of having all these people on the payroll and all of the sudden we don't have the funds to pay for it.
"We were supposed to know by March 1. Supposedly, that was the big day that sequestration was going to hit, and that we'd have more answers," he said. "It's not just Kanawha County -- it's every school system in the U.S. that's waiting to hear."
The Gazette first reported on the cuts to Kanawha County's Title I, Head Start and special education programs in January when the school board announced a potential deficit for the 2014 budget.
Then, Padon said a request by the state Department of Education for a new accountability system would require counties to set aside a portion of their budgets for the lowest-achieving schools, which would in turn cost the county more than $2 million of its Title I funding and force about 100 of those teachers to transfer.
The cutbacks to Head Start teachers were likely because for the first time, federal requirements made the state compete again for grant money instead of receiving it in a continuous cycle, like it has in the past, Padon said.
Duerring had mentioned the toll of sequestration on these programs in the past, but focused more on a decrease in Medicaid reimbursements and a cap on the county's excess levy.
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.