by Kate Evans
The Morgan County School Board approved a contract of purchase of 28.3 acres of land at 1088 Fairview Drive at their Tuesday, May 11 meeting. The land is located behind the intermediate school and adjoins the 23 acres the school board owns at the Warm Springs Middle School-Warm Springs Intermediate School complex.
The board authorized Superintendent Kristen Tuttle to sign a contract and negotiate the settlement of the purchase to be brought back to the board for final approval. The sum listed on the property purchase agreement is $330,000.
The land could possibly be used for building another school, a bus garage or offices, said school board president Aaron Close previously. There is a two-story home located on the property. The property could also provide a second access road to Fairview Drive for the middle school-intermediate school complex that would hook up to the connector road to the future bypass that’s by War Memorial Hospital.
Close said at the meeting that he considered the land purchase as an opportunity to add to their footprint at the Warm Springs Middle School-Warm Springs Intermediate School complex.
School calendar approved
The school board approved the Calendar A draft option for the 2021-2022 school year after they held a second public calendar hearing at their May 11 meeting. There were no further public comments beyond the ones they received in the calendar survey.
School Treasurer Ann Bell said this draft Calendar A is very similar to the one Berkeley County proposed and is very much like the traditional calendar that Morgan County generally used. It’s the calendar that the School Calendar Committee recommended.
In the approved Calendar A, the first day of school for students is Tuesday, August 24 and first day of school for teachers is Wednesday, August 18.
Calendar A has a full Christmas break that runs from December 22 with an early out through January 2, with students returning to school on January 3. Thanksgiving break and spring break are both a full week’s break, Bell noted.
School will let out on June 1 if there are no snow days. Six OS days are scheduled at the end of the year from June 2 to June 9 as possible snow make-up days, she said.
Step 7 plan
The school board also approved the plan for the remainder of the $518,171 in Step 7 monies for the improvement of instructional programs for the 2019-2020 school year.
Some $54,158 will go for technology-remedial software, $35,000 for curricular team leaders, $135,670 for James Rumsey Technical Institute, $62,000 for Morgan County Achieves, $58,000 for textbooks and $31,395 for school allocations for instructional materials and supplies. Morgan County Achieves funding supports academic competitions, field trips and staff development.
The board previously approved $141,948 of the Step 7 funding to be used for the employment of personnel at their April 20 meeting. Some $86,936 of the Step 7 monies will fund a fulltime county technology systems specialist position and $55,012 will be spent on a fulltime county technology coach. The salary amounts include benefits.
Tennis courts, textbooks
The board okayed Pay Application #5 totaling $38,446.50 for the Warm Springs Middle School tennis courts contract as approved by Williamson Shriver Architects, Inc.
The school board also approved adopting these English Language Arts textbooks: Elementary English Language Arts-HMH Into Reading, Elementary Handwriting-Zane Bloser and Secondary English Language Arts-McGraw Hill Study Sync.
The board did a first reading of the following policies at the meeting: Instruction on the Bible, Religion in the Curriculum, Teacher and Leader Induction Program, Professional Learning for Educators, Assignment and Transfer of Service Personnel, Student Suicide, Substance Abuse Prevention, Discipline-Student Due Process Rights, Video Surveillance and Electronic Monitoring, Board-Owned Personal Communication Devices, Home Instruction and School Calendar.
The school board also approved the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Agreement between the Morgan County Board of Education and the USDA.
School Superintendent Kristen Tuttle told the board that both high school proms went well-kids had a great time.
Registration for this fall’s Morgan County Virtual Academy is open until June 1.
A Renaissance STAR presentation showed that Morgan County Schools are at or above state and national data points, Tuttle said. They’d heard a lot about learning loss but county schools fared well.
As of May 11, the school system had five students positive for COVID-19, one of which was a virtual student. They had no staff cases of COVID-19, she said.
Board member Eric Lyda said that he is sorry to see that Berkeley Springs High School math teacher Kim Hamrick is retiring. She’s a National Board Certified Teacher and is a marvelous teacher that runs a tight ship