At the March 3 meeting of the Wetzel County Board of Education, Director of Child Nutrition Amanda McPherson, stated that she had received a sizable donation from a couple toward overdue student lunch accounts.
McPherson said the couple, who wished to remain anonymous, had read a news report about an out-of-state school who had denied students meals because of unpaid bills.
McPherson stated the couple wished to get the word out in the community to let others know that they can help. McPherson described the donation as "truly a blessing."
In another matter, Albright stated that the board was forming a committee to look at alternative education around the state and see how the board matches up. "If there's a board member who wants to sit on that committee and see if there's anything we can do to tweak ours . . ."
The board agreed that fellow board member Carolyn Gatian would be a good fit for the committee as she had always expressed an interest in alternative education.
In another matter, Board President Mike Blair agreed to be added to the committee to decide the next employee of the month.
Also,, the board discussed at length the current controversy that surrounds staff reporting to school during snow days.
Albright stated he had called a three-hour delay, for staff, that day to coincide with the state's delay.
Board member Carolyn Gatian inquired as to what happens if a teacher does not report to work and they do not have a personal or sick day to use. Albright answered that the teacher would lose a day of pay. It was noted that employees have 15 days of leave time, as well as one month of sick time.
Furthermore, Gatian described one particular phone call from a staff member opposing having to report on snow days; she described the call as "horrible." Gatian stated that a caller remarked that they felt unappreciated. "I appreciate what they do," she said. "I appreciate why they do it. I appreciate the fact that it's their job."
"I don't want anybody hurt," Blair stated. "Safety is a priority. If I was in the system and felt it was unsafe to be on the road, I would stay home . . . I think the new school calendar is the start of standardizing the system back to, you go to school or you don't go to school, but you get 180 days of teaching . . . "
Blair also stated that the five-member board does not cancel school.
"I'm a bit offended because you guys get the calls," Albright stated, noting the calls should come to him.
"The main thing here," Blair remarked, "there's not a conception or a misconception. Safety is the number one priority. Commonsense and anticipation . . . that's what it's all about. When they call me, I say, 'I don't want anybody hurt. If you don't feel you can handle it, don't do it. I don't want anybody hurt.' I don't want that. We call school off because of the safety of kids on the bus."
Wetzel County School's Director of Transportation Brian Jones stated in regards to canceling school, "We don't do that so much because we don't trust our drivers. We are leery of other drivers and what they may do to us, what someone else will do." He added, "I'm maybe a tad bit offended. My wife has worked for 35 years, and she's never had a snow day, never been off for a snow day. If you don't go to work, you don't get paid."
"Today places were open," Albright stated. "Wal-Mart was open, the magistrates' office was open; the courthouse was open . . ."
Gatian suggested that perhaps principals buy small items, such as doughnuts, cookies, or thank you cards for the teachers. "I say thank you every time I see a teacher," she noted. "I try to make sure they know how much they are appreciated . . . I think maybe I'm offended along with Brian. The words 'not being appreciated' are harsh to me."
Gatian added that she has appreciation for the teachers. "I may not shout it from the rooftops, but it's there."