The problem runs deeper than one instance. The county consistently hires administrators, to the detriment of students and teachers alike, Brunett and Hale argue.
"It has been consistently a problem that's been pointed out over and over," Hale said. "We've collected data that shows how top heavy they are, in terms of most of the other counties. But it just doesn't seem to register with that board."
About 23 percent of employees in Monongalia County schools are administrative, according to Brunett's letter. Five are paid more than $100,000 a year, and 26 are paid more than $80,000.
"This is awkward to every taxpayer in Monongalia County who has historically supported this education system," Brunett wrote. "How can this board justify to its employees and those taxpayers any (personnel changes) or classroom material cutbacks at the same time they wish to hire an additional county-level administrator with the starting salary of $85,000?"
Arguments from teachers' unions that county school systems employ too many administrators and not enough teachers are not new. However, Barnett and Hale believe it is particularly important now in light of the highly publicized statewide education efficiency audit.
Among many other recommendations, the audit calls for fewer administrative positions at the state Department of Education. Brunett believes a county-by-county assessment of administrative positions across the state could show similar bureaucratic bulk.
Attempts to reach Devono and two Monongalia County school board members were unsuccessful.
The state Board of Education recently issued its own response to the audit. The department is cutting back on some of its administrative positions, and there is a pledge to move more control to Regional Education Service Agencies and county boards.
Legislators are expected to rely on the audit for legislation that could be proposed in the upcoming session.