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Roof replacement grant for high school, school policies considered

by Kate Evans

The Morgan County School Board authorized School Superintendent Kristen Tuttle at their March 15 meeting to submit the Major Improvement Project (MIP) grant application for the Berkeley Springs High School Building D roof replacement to the West Virginia School Building Authority.

The roof replacement project has a total estimated cost of $422,732 with a $50,000 match of local funds and a School Building Authority funding request of $373,732.

Policies

The Morgan County School Board had a first reading of 49 policies at their March 15 meeting, which was held at Warm Springs Intermediate School.

The polices included Definitions, Determination of Employee or Independent Worker (1406, 3116, 4116), Evaluation of Central Office Personnel, Evaluation of School Leaders,  Required Courses of Instruction, Section 504/ADA Prohibition Against Discrimination Based on Disability, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities, Alternative Delivery of Educational Programs, Hope Scholarship Program, Civics Education Test, Athletic Trainer and Employment of Personnel for Extra-Curricular Activities.  (3120.08, 4120.08)

Additional first reading policies were Substitutes in Areas of Critical Need and Shortage, Drug-Free Workplace, Staff Evaluation, Unauthorized Work Stoppage (3531, 4531), Employment of Substitutes, Competency Testing for Service Personnel, Service Personnel Staff Development, Eligibility of Resident/Nonresident Students for Enrollment, Open Enrollment for Nonresident Students, School Choice Options, Use of Medications and Self-Administered Medication and Epinephrine Use.

Other first reading policies were  Care of Students with Chronic Health Conditions, Student Discipline, Discipline-Student Due Process Rights, Cost Principles-Spending Federal Funds, Purchases, Payroll Deductions, System of Accounting, Property Inventory, Accounting System for Capital Assets, Letters of Reference, Indoor Air Quality, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Instruction, Food Services, Wellness, Bus Operator Certification, Home Instruction, Driver Education, Student Driver Eligibility Certificate, Attendance, Educational Program and Charter Schools.

The policies will be on display on the Morgan County Schools website for 30 days for public comment.

Employee suspended

School board members went into executive session according to West Virginia Code 6-9A-4A to discuss the disciplining of an employee.  Board member Eric Lyda recused himself from the executive session and following suspension vote due to having personal knowledge of the situation that could impede his ability to be impartial.

The school board suspended Sharon Munson, Paw Paw Elementary kindergarten aide/ early childhood classroom assistant teacher (ECCAT) for 10 days at the recommendation of Morgan County Schools Superintendent Kristen Tuttle. Munson waived her right to a hearing.

Joint Resolution on policies

Morgan County School Board president Aaron Close noted at their meeting that House Joint Resolution 102 will require any policies that the West Virginia State Board of Education wants to adopt to come before the State Legislature.

Close said that this requires a change in the West Virginia Constitution and that the resolution will come before state voters in the November general election.  The resolution passed in both the West Virginia Senate and House this session.

The West Virginia Board of Education and State School Superintendent Clayton Burch issued a joint statement on March 9 opposing the resolution, which is the second attempt by the Legislature to change the State Board of Education’s role in setting policy for the public school system in two years, according to a State Department of Education press release.

The State Board of Education and Burch said in the press release that the State School Board “is comprised of citizens from diverse backgrounds and educational expertise who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate for overlapping terms.  This ensures continuity and a balance of political and geographical representation and creates stability for decision-making.”

The non-partisan State Board of Education “provides more than a consistent and stabilizing foundation for public schools, but also a panel of experts from diverse backgrounds that are connected to the teachers, students and families of the state.  The Board can respond quickly to the needs of educators and students as has been most evident during the COVID-19 pandemic,” they added.

Comments

Superintendent Kristen Tuttle said that Berkeley Springs High School was participating in the Academic Showdown in Charleston on March 25.

The COVID-19 update for the previous week was four students-one at the high school, two at the middle school and one at Widmyer-with no cases among staff.

Tuttle and board members praised the intermediate school LSIC presentation.  Board vice-president Peter Gordon expressed pride in their exciting innovations and innovative teaching.

“This school shines,” Gordon said.

Other

The school board approved the appointment of Zachary E. Rider to the Morgan County Parks and Recreation Board for the term of March 15 through June 30.

The board awarded the mowing contract for Morgan County Schools to Bingaman Lawn Service.  Four companies came to the pre-bid meeting and they had two bids for the contract.  Bingaman had the lowest bid.    Close said everyone says he does a good job.  John Rowland said his work is very good.

The board approved registration for school board members Aaron Close, Pete Gordon, Eric Lyda, John Rowland and Laura Smith along with Superintendent Kristen Tuttle to attend the May 12 West Virginia School Board Association Region 8 meeting at the Country Inn.

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