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Board Will Get $3.1 Million For Programs

By Staff | Aug 19, 2009

The Wetzel County Board of Education Aug. 17 voted to participate in several state and federal programs in the 2009-10 school year that will bring the school system more than $3.1 million in funding.

Some $1.6 million in special education entitlements come from the federal government and another $38,000 is from a county grant appropriated by the West Virginia Legislature.

Title I federal entitlement programs will receive almost $1.3 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and under IASA, a federal program for the remedial instruction of mathematics and reading.

Title IV of the U. S. No Child Left Behind Act will fund safe and drug-free schools and communities programs, while another $234,000 under Title II of No Child will fund programs aimed at improving teacher quality.

Almost all of the funding is restricted for use in special education programs.

Short Line School parents Patrick Nice and Chuck Roberts asked the board to allow the addition of a wrestling program at the school for approximately 20 seventh and eighth grade students in the coming school year.

No public monies would be used to support the program that now exists as a non-sanctioned youth league in the Short Line area.

Nice told the board that if the program is approved, he and Roberts would secure WVSSAC coaching certification and hopefully establish a wrestling program at the high school level.

Three youth league wrestlers, including Roberts’ own daughter, went on to become state champions last year in their respective weight divisions.

The league also sponsored a non-sanctioned tournament in which 500 wrestlers competed.

The board appears headed for a vote on the matter at its next meeting, after required documentation has be verified.

Sue Villers, county director of attendance and student support services, reported on the county’s alternative education program and truancy statistics from the 2008-09 school year.

She said that a total of 178 students were referred to her for a legal conference. Of that number, 116 cases-including 38 cases from the previous year-were referred to Magistrate Court for legal proceedings against the parents. Forty-eight cases will carry over to the 2009-10 school year.

Not only were referrals to her down from the previous year, Villers noted that the county’s elementary schools maintained a 97.5 percent daily attendance rate, compared with the 93 percent required for meeting AYP standards.

She also noted that high schools, which do not have an attendance mandate, had a 91.5 percent graduation rate, more than 11 percent higher than required by AYP.

Villers reported that 22 students were referred to the county’s alternative education program for disruptive students, including six from the previous year. That total is up slightly from the previous school year.

She noted that none of the referrals were for abuse of prescription drugs, suggesting to many board members that the school system’s anti-abuse programs initiated two years ago were having a positive impact.

Fourteen students successfully completed the program and were either graduated or returned to normal classroom setting. Four students were placed in a juvenile facility by the court system, while another two students transferred to home schooling.

Villers reported that the suspension terms of only two students will carry over until the 2009-10 school year.

She predicted the county program will follow national trends and be used more in the coming year for more violent behavior against other students and property.

The board approved the second and final reading of a policy that establishes eight Fast ForWord school coordinators to supervise the implementation and conduct of a new reading initiative in the coming school year.

It also approved the following teachers to fill those positions: Long Drain School, Rita C. Roberts; New Martinsville School, Teresa L. Standiford and Amy J. Littell; Paden City Elementary School, Valerie D. Slider; SLS, Phillip B. Hulsey; Hundred High School, Rebecca K. Goff; Magnolia High School, Sadonna L. Kimble; Paden City High School, Shelley L. Hulsey; and Valley High School, Kristina L. Earley.

Two coordinators were appointed at NMS because of the size of its student body.

Fast ForWord, a new technique for improving reading skills, especially among special education students, was approved at the board’s Aug. 3 meeting at a cost of $500,000, which will be paid with federal “stimulus” funds.

The board also approved the first readings of revisions in its policies on Acceptable Use of Technology and Student Code of Conduct. Both revisions were identical, forbidding the use of technology for abusive conduct.

Board Member Linda Ritz, a registered nurse, asked if there was a policy in place for inoculating students against the “Swine Flu” virus and for handling cases of it in schools.

Villers said a parental permission form has been developed for voluntary student inoculations.

Noting that an early sign of the H1N1 virus is a high fever-more than 100 degrees-Ritz suggested that there needs to be a procedure for isolating and observing students who exhibit that level of fever.

Villers said she would verify with school nurses that a procedure for monitoring and controlling the virus in schools was in place.

Before adjourning, the board acted on several personnel and staffing matters. It also authorized the county superintendent of schools to fill any vacancies that occur prior to the first regular board meeting in September. Any such interim appointments will be subject to ratification by the board.