School News

School enrollment drops, school system awaiting new buses

by Kate Evans

County school enrollment has fallen by 24 students in the actual head count and the full-time enrollment count is down by 41 students, said Morgan County Schools Superintendent Kristen Tuttle at the October 17 Morgan County School Board meeting.  They are waiting for the official October 1 enrollment figures from the state.

State aid funding is based on the county’s October 1 full-time enrollment numbers which include students that are partially registered in just a few courses.

Tuttle said that schools across the state will also see a drop in enrollment due to virtual schools, charter schools and scholarships.  Some school districts are down hundreds of students, she noted.

Tuttle also said that the county school student chronic absenteeism percentage is now at 13%, well below the 28% chronic absenteeism Morgan County Schools had last year.

Transportation report

Morgan County Schools Transportation Director Tammy Painter reported on the status of bus purchases, bus driver applications and School Bus Safety Week events.

Painter said she had two bus driver applications.  She usually waits to have three or four applications to run a class because they usually lose one or two of the driver applicants along the way.  Painter hopes to hold a bus driver class before winter.

Painter said that the county has low bus driver absenteeism.  Drivers know the situation and are really good, she said.

They were doing School Bus Safety Week presentations at the schools the week of October 16-21, Painter said.    Students were learning about bus loading and unloading procedures, bus rules and arm signals.  Transportation staff is attending a training conference in Ohio. They’re hoping to hear what’s working for other school districts and what’s not.

Painter hopes the other school buses they purchased will be delivered in a couple of weeks.  They just got a new 15-passenger van for special needs students.  It has a few minor cosmetic things that need fixed on it.  Special Education Director Nicole Hiles received a grant to purchase the van, said School Superintendent Kristen Tuttle.

Board member Justin Listen asked Painter how the new buses are working out.  Painter said the buses are gasoline-fueled and their expenses have gone down.  However, the bus prices have increased 30% while the bus quality has gone down 40%.

Policies approved

The Morgan County School Board conducted a second reading and approval of the following policies: Notice of Meetings, Meetings, Regular Meetings (rescinded), Special Meetings (rescinded), Recess (rescinded), Voting, Minutes, Public Participation at Board Meetings, Evaluation of School Leaders, Student Supervision and Welfare, Weapons 1617, 3217, 4217, Anti-Harassment and Violence 1662, 3362, 4362,  5517, 5772 and 7217, Student Privacy and Parental Access to Information, Participation in Extra-Curricular Activities, Interscholastic Athletics, Staff Evaluation, School Safety, Volunteers and Grievance Procedure 3340 and 4340.

Additional second reading policies approved were Selection of Instructional Materials and Equipment, Instructional Materials Inspection and the Right To File Complaint, Tutors, Student Supervision and Welfare by Professional Staff 3213 and by Service Personnel 4213,  Areas of Critical Need and Shortage for Substitute Bus Drivers, Eligibility of Resident/Nonresident Students for Enrollment, Open Enrollment for Nonresident Students, Promotion, Acceleration, Placement and Retention,  Grading and Student Code of Conduct.

Other second reading policies approved were Exclusion from Classroom or School Bus, Suspension and Expulsion of Students, Suspension of School Transportation Privileges and Exclusion from School Bus, Corporal Punishment (rescinded), Video Surveillance and Electronic Monitoring,  Expected Behavior in Safe and Supportive Schools, Bus Driver Certification, Transportation for Curricular/Co-Curricular and Extra-Curricular District-Sponsored Trips, Transportation by Limited Passenger Vehicles and Religious/Patriotic Ceremonies and Observances.


Superintendent Kristen Tuttle said that area legislators would be available for a legislative work session on Tuesday, November 7.  The school board decided to hold the work session at 5 p.m. before their regularly scheduled  November 7 meeting at 6 p.m. at the school board office.

Tuttle congratulated the Warm Springs Middle School golf team on their PVL championship and undefeated season.

Board member John Rowland recognized Paw Paw High School student Donovan Tanouye on his spectacular cross country season and Potomac Valley Conference (PVC) Championship. Rowland attended the middle school cross country meet where kids ran in the rain in a high quality race.  He said the two coaches are doing a superior job.

Rowland also said that the Greenwood School Community Center is holding their Sunday, October 29 Family Fall Festival/Halloween Bash and that a lot of nice things are going on at the center.  The community center will probably do a presentation on their last five years to the board soon.