State school board meets here

West Virginia Board of Education president David Perry (front left) and State School Superintendent Dr. Steven Paine (front middle) listen while board member Thomas Campbell (front right) makes a point during the board’s May 8 meeting at Berkeley Springs High School.

by Kate Evans

The West Virginia Board of Education held its May 8 meeting at Berkeley Springs High School. Local, regional and state school personnel, government officials, agency and organizational leaders, high school students and community members attended the morning meeting.

A ceremonial oath of office was administered to state school board member Daniel Snavely at the meeting’s opening. Governor Jim Justice appointed Snavely to the board on March 20 to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Joseph Wallace in February. Snavely will complete Wallace’s term, which expires in November, 2024.

Morgan County spotlight

Morgan County Schools Superintendent Erich May welcomed state school board members, State School Superintendent Dr. Steven Paine and guests to Berkeley Springs High School.

The Warm Springs Middle School Wolfpack News Team showed a video they produced that highlighted each of the different Morgan County schools and their programs.

After the video May recognized the many community partners that the school system has and the people that lead those agencies and organizations, most of whom were present at the meeting.

Partners May mentioned included the Morgan County Partnership, Morgan County Starting Points, the Morgan County Backpacks Program, FAST, the Morgan Arts Council, Morgan County Parks and Recreation, the Morgan County Extension Office, the PASS program, Inspire WV, the Warm Springs Watershed Association, the Eastern Panhandle Planning and Development Council and the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department.

May also acknowledged the school district’s partnerships with James Rumsey Technical Institute, Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, the Eastern Panhandle Instructional Cooperative (EPIC), the Math4Life steering committee, the Morgan County Economic Development Authority and the West Virginia School Building Authority.

Morgan County Schools Special Education Director Nicole Hiles and Berkeley Springs High School social worker Heather Klockmann also gave a PowerPoint presentation on social work in Morgan County Schools, the department’s strategies and programs that support the mental health of students and the many student and classroom challenges they face. The school system has five social workers this year.

Meeting business

The state school board meeting agenda included the employment of substitute teachers in areas of critical need and shortage in a number of counties as well as some amendments to the Comprehensive Education Facilities Plans in Gilmer County, Pendleton County, Preston County and Wood County.

Gilmer Middle School/High School wants to create a true 6-8 middle school in their east wing and a 9-12 high school in the west wing. Other Major Improvement Projects (MIP) were the repair/replacement of the P.E. classroom/gymnasium roof at Brandywine Elementary in Pendleton County, secure entry ways at Preston County High School, secure entry ways and HVAC upgrades at Kingwood Elementary, HVAC upgrades at West Preston School and safe school entrances at Wood County elementary schools and high schools.

New business

Some 13 proposals were submitted by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC) for the state education board’s consideration, mostly for clarification. Proposal 9 adds an AAAA classification for boys and girls basketball. The proposed amendments were to be placed on public comment for 30 days.

Policy 2445.40 Instructional Resources also was to be placed on public comment for 30 days. The policy deals with adoption, use and groupings of instructional resources for pre-kindergarten through grade 12. It includes information pertaining to vendors registering resources and county boards reviewing primary classroom resources.

West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind requested transferring a barn and 10 acres of property that it oversees to the Town of Romney to preserve and revitalize the barn. The property is two miles from campus and the 1929 barn needs considerable repair and restoration. It was recommended that negotiations for the property transfer start.

Finance committee meeting

The West Virginia Board of Education Finance and Funding Committee also met at the Morgan County School Board office on Tuesday, May 7. The committee continued discussions regarding education funding measures, their adequacy and effectiveness, the state aid formula, Senate Bill 451 funding proposals and other funding opportunities.

A subcommittee on policy and statutes also met regarding the time and resources needed to meet legislative, state department and county requirements placed on educators, schools and school districts.