2017-03-15 / School News

Extension Office agreement approved, school policies considered

by Kate Evans

The Morgan County School Board approved $7,394 for their annual memorandum agreement with the West Virginia University Morgan County Extension Office. Their action took place at their February 21 meeting that was held at Paw Paw Schools. The funds are remaining monies from the previous special levy call that were designated for the agency, School Treasurer Ann Bell said.

Some program assistant salary funding was leftover when former program assistant Cindy Smalley was hired as the new Morgan County Extension Agent. The agency has been very frugal with its remaining funds and spends only around $3,200 annually, Bell said. The Extension Office no longer receives funding under the special levy call that was approved by voters in May, 2014.

The $7,394 in funding will pay $1,994 for an Extension Office program assistant, $1,000 toward travel, $1,200 for office supplies, and $1,500 for utilities and $1,700 toward copier maintenance and repair.

The Extension Office had requested a total of $7,465 in funding with $2,065 for a program assistant, but the amounts approved were changed to a total of $7,394 and $1,994 for the program assistant when a last-minute travel expense from Extension staff came in, Bell said.

The Extension Office doesn’t currently have a program assistant and may need the personnel funding to help pay for summer Camp MoCo staff. Board member John Rowland said it was money well-spent with 58% of participants showing reading gains in the summer program.

First reading of policies

The school board also did a first reading of a number of new policies and policy revisions at their meeting. A link to the new and revised policies is posted on the county school website.

New policies that are under consideration are internal controls, cash management of grants, cost principles-spending federal funds and time and effort reporting. The new policies pertain to the accounting process and regulations compliance for federal funding awards.

Revised policies up for consideration are staff conflict of interest, evaluation of central office personnel, staff and school leaders, leave of absence, preschool programs, student assessment, employment of school personnel, immunization, disposal of real and surplus property, food services, lending of boardowned equipment, high school diploma for veterans, programs of study for limited English proficiency (LEP) students, the school day and school calendar.

School calendar

A revised school calendar policy notes new minimum amount of instructional hours required for pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students. Pre-K instruction is no less than 1,500 minutes per week and at least 48,000 minutes annually. Grades K-five instruction is 315 minutes per day; grades six-eight is 330 minutes per day; and grades nine-12 instruction is 345 minutes per day. The instructional day does not include time for homeroom, class changes, breaks/recess, lunch and other non-instructional activity time.

Minimal policy revisions

Superintendent David Banks said that the policy revisions suggested by Neola were minimal and were needed to be in compliance with policy changes made at the federal or state level. Neola is the company the school board works with to revise school district policies.

Assistant Superintendent Kristen Tuttle said some revised policies have just a few word changes while changes in other policies are a little more extensive. The new and revised policies have a second reading before their adoption at a later board meeting.

Teachers honored

The school board honored Paw Paw Schools third grade teacher Shanna Poniris and kindergarten teacher Adam Keeling for grants they received for the school. Poniris was awarded a $2,500 Lowe’s Heroes for Hearts grant for new school playground equipment that was installed last fall. Keeling received a $200 Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation grant that purchased Lakeshore Learning math and reading products for learning stations.

Out-of-state travel

The board approved a March 17 overnight trip for Paw Paw High School technology education teacher Chris Poniris and six students to the Clay Center in Charleston to meet Astronaut John McBride and skype with astronauts in space.

A March 3-5 field trip was approved for Paw Paw High School science teacher Megan Bradfield, eight students and an additional teacher chaperone to attend the National Youth Science Foundation Center in Davis for STEM activities.

Bus accident

Banks reported that a February 21 early morning bus accident near the corner of Fairfax Street and Fairview Drive was a minor fender-bender. A passenger vehicle pulled out and sideswiped the bus, hitting the rear bus door slightly, said Transportation Director Joyce White. The bus was not damaged. A couple of kids that said they had headaches after the accident, Banks said.


Architect selection is underway for the high school gymnasium building and vocational building renovations. Architect interviews were conducted on Monday.

Banks said that the state removed the requirement for grades nine and 10 reading and math testing for the West Virginia General Summative Assessment exams beginning this spring. Science testing of 10th grade students is still required.

Jody Lucas

School board member Pete Gordon and Superintendent Dave Banks expressed sadness at the passing of former Morgan County Schools Treasurer Jody Lucas, school financial officer from 1993 to 2005.

Gordon said Lucas was a close friend and a fine man— intelligent and insightful—and was highly-respected locally and across the state. Lucas served as Cabell County Schools Treasurer after he left Morgan County Schools. Banks said Treasurer Ann Bell valued Lucas’ opinions very highly. Gordon, Banks and Bell said that Lucas will be greatly missed.

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