Members of the Upshur County Board of a Education met at Tennerton Elementary School earlier this week to discuss a number of issues including the upcoming levy election, student discipline, school security, and a virtual schools project among other issues.
According to administrators, the levy election process is progressing with early voting now underway for the Jan. 19 election.
“We are celebrating the number of years this community has supported our students and families,” Superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus said. “Strong communities have excellent schools and we look forward to their continued support.”
Facilities Director Tim Derico updated board members on work done in a number of areas over the holiday break
“Over the break, we got caught up on a few things,” Derico said. “We had a hot water issue at the middle school that was resolved as well as one at the high school. Our crews are finishing some flooring in the gym and concession area of the middle school. There was some peeling and they were getting ready to repair that, but they stopped us and put down concrete like is in the rest of the building.”
Upshur County is part of a new program designed to assist students in learning.
Assistant superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison reported on the implementation of the pilot program for virtual school at B-UHS, which has 11 students enrolled for the semester. “We have our first class in place,” she said.
“We are well on our way with the pilot program,” she said. “We have 11 students. There was one senior we were going to lose if they were not included.”
Harrison noted officials came from Charleston to conduct the training this past week with parents, students and staff as well as central office staff among others.
“I do want to commend Teresa Knight; she has done a wonderful job with this,” Harrison said.
Board members approved a measure to provide Upshur County professional employees, service personnel and administrators who give early notice of their retirement by March 1, 2019 and complete the 2018-2019 school year will each receive a $500 incentive bonus provided through county funds.
Superintendent Stankus said the incentive is provided by the state and the county.
“If the staff notifies us early of their intent to retire, we issue the incentive,” Stankus said. “We have done this for the last 20 years.”
The early notice gives time for hiring new personnel and budgeting issues, according to school officials.
Board members entered three short Executive Sessions to discuss matters related to school safety and student related issues including discipline. Board members took action two of the three issues.
Board members entered the first closed door session to meet with representatives from JH Consultants relating to school security measures. No action was taken as a result of the session.
Board members entered into their second executive session to discuss a request from Jeremiah Smallridge for a homebound student to participate in extracurricular activities. Board members tabled the request until further information on the request could be obtained.
Board members emerged from the third and final executive session after a brief discussion of a student discipline issue that culminated in a unanimous vote by board members to suspend an Upshur County student for a period of one year for violation of for violation of Upshur County Schools policy 4011 and West Virginia State Policy 4373 – Expected Behavior in Safe and Supportive Schools