The Upshur County Board of Education met for regular session on Tuesday at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School. The meeting turned out to be quite lengthy, mostly due to two executive sessions being held to discuss personnel issues, one of which was nearly two hours long.
The board approved the elimination of nine positions in order to operate in a thorough and efficient manner and to address the curricular and instructional needs of students. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison explained that while these positions were cut, the employees will be transferred, not unemployed. She stated, “We have great employees. They were very understanding and appreciative.” Harrison went on to say, “We have enough positions in the county that no one will be without a position.”
An ISS teacher position and three Out of School Environment (OSE) or homebound positions were eliminated due to programmatic delivery format changes. Additionally, one middle school French instructor and four special education teacher and aide positions were eliminated due to student enrollment. The board also approved transfers of four professional and three service personnel.
Several recognitions were made with presentations of Upshur Stars awards. Music teacher Brandon Williams was the first to be honored, then he and his students entertained the large group with two unique performances. Principal Susanne Britton praised Williams for taking on the roll as BAES Orfestra Director to get kids more involved with music and instruments this year and said he meets with the Orfestra students three mornings per week before school starts. She stated, “It’s been very productive and the kids love it.”
Buckhannon-Upshur High School senior Jayme Lantz was also presented with an Upshur Stars award. She was selected as one of the “Class of 2019 100 High School Students America Needs to Know About”. Lantz was the only West Virginia student featured in the Workforce Career Readiness™ publication, which recognizes the next generation of industry leaders, innovators and warriors. Her Digital Buccaneers Simulated Workplace teacher and mentor, Sarah Wamsley proudly stated, “Jayme is always looking to go above and beyond and puts forth her best effort.”
Megan Bacorn, Union Elementary teacher was the final Upshur Star award recipient of the night. She was credited as being very instrumental in notifying all the proper authorities of an emergency at the school after hours that enabled quick response to an electrical surge that left the building inept for three days last week. Facilities Director Tim Derico said, “It’s hard to tell what kind of damage we would’ve had if she had not been there.”
Buckhannon-Upshur High School Boys’ Basketball Team and coach Travis Foster were also acknowledged at the meeting. They were praised for their efforts and being a good representation of the county. Coach Foster talked about the hard work they have all been putting in and stated, “We’re trying to teach them the process of success to be able to eliminate a lot of the stuff that goes on outside of school and to stay on the right track.”
Coach Foster added that senior Dawson Lilly and sophomore Ryan Hurst were named on All-State teams this year and thanked everyone for their support. Superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus said to the team, “Thank you for representing our county and when you wear that Buckhannon-Upshur uniform, it represents not only your school, but all of these people here in our whole community. We are proud of you.”
BOE President Dr. Tammy Samples acknowledged how nice it was for so many people to be recognized at this board meeting. She stated, “It’s why we do what we do.”
In other actions, the board approved bid awards for lawn care services at Upshur County Schools’ facilities. Brothers Property Management will take care of the grounds at Buckhannon-Upshur High School. Mountaineer Lawn Care and Landscaping LLC will provide services for Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, Buckhannon Academy Elementary, Rock Cave Elementary, Union Elementary and the Board of Education. The remaining elementary schools at French Creek, Hodgesville, Tennerton and Washington District will be cared for by Stanton Lawn Service. The board anticipates that these new agreements for lawn care services will save the county thousands of dollars this year.
The following vendors responded to the published request for proposals for wireless and network upgrades at all Upshur County Schools and Fred Eberle Technical Center: Alpha Technologies - $129, 677; Raven Rock Networks Inc. - $133,893; Micrologic - $140,083; IT Mind Share - $149,421. The board approved the bid award to Raven Rock Networks, Inc. due to having the lowest local bid, a positive work history with Upshur Schools and including a higher caliber of equipment than requested.
Due to the date the SAT will be administered changing and the need for professional training to implement a new program through the Community Cares grant in the fall, it was necessary to make calendar changes for the remaining school year. The board accordingly approved calendar changes, which includes moving the last day for students to May 24, 2019, and releases them before Memorial Day.
The next regular BOE meeting will be held Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School.