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Board Reallocates Funding, Plans For H1N1

By Staff | Sep 23, 2009

In the photo are Local School Improvement Council members and principals who made presentations to Wetzel County Board of Education Sept. 21. From left: Anna Barr, president of Long Drain School LSIC; Paul Huston, LDS Principal; Hundred High School Principal Richard Ochsenbein; and the school’s LSIC President Katherine Kaufman. (Photo by Bill Abraham)

Wetzel County Schools have some $582,000 in unallocated funds from the 2008-09 school year that will be rebudgeted for the current year, according to a report from Treasurer Jeff Lancaster Sept. 21 to the board of education, meeting at Long Drain School.

That figure would have been higher, Lancaster said, if the school system did not have to pay $152,000 as the county’s share of unfunded debt for retirement benefits of county employees throughout the state. This is the first year the school system has been required to include that debt as part of its annual financial statement.

County Superintendent Bill Jones noted that Wetzel County has joined 45 other counties in a lawsuit against the State of West Virginia, asking the courts to declare the liability as a state, not county, responsibility. However, Lancaster noted, until or unless that issue is resolved, it could mean the school system will be in a deficit position within two years.

Director of Student Support Service Sue Villers updated the board on a comprehensive plan to prevent the spread of the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus, which is not a threat in the school system at this time.

Students and staff will be reminded to wash their hands with a hand sanitizer before and after using computer keyboards. Similarly, custodians will daily sanitize such commonly-accessible sites as water fountains, light switches, desk tops, panic bars, and door knobs.

In the photo, Wetzel County Superintendent of Schools Bill Jones presents a certificate of recognition to Katherine Kaufman, art teacher at Long Drain School and Hundred High School. Kaufman was cited for her work with Artsonia, the online worldwide art museum where her students have displayed more than 500 works of art since 2007. (Photo by Bill Abraham)

A protocol has been established for anyone who becomes ill that includes taking their temperatures, isolating them until they go home or are taken home by parents. Parents also will be given a letter on illnesses and when it is appropriate to return their students to school. Homebound students will be able to access their homework and other class activities via the Internet.

Villers also said she would meet with health department personnel this week to discuss an immunization process and what steps will be taken in the event of a widespread outbreak of H1N1.

The board approved Clyde R. “Randy” Houk as principal at Valley High School, effective Sept. 23. Houk has more than 11 years experience as a high school and junior high school principal. Houk presently serves as director of students services for the Hyde County School District in Swan Quarter, N.C.

The board also heard reports from the principals of meeting host Long Drain School and from Hundred High school, as well as representatives of their respective Local School Improvement Councils.

HHS senior Zach Phillips received a certificate of recognition for academic achievement by HHS Principal Richard Ochsenbein and LSIC President Katherine Kaufman. Phillips also is a three-year starter on the Hornet football team and is listed on the school’s Principal’s List that requires a 4.0 GPA.

Hundred High School senior Zach Phillips was awarded a certificate of academic excellence by HHS Principal Richard Ochsenbein and LSIC President Katherine Kaufman at the Sept. 21 board of education meeting. Phillips, also a fullback and linebacker on the school’s football team, maintains a 4.0 GPA. (Photo by Bill Abraham)

Kaufman, art teacher at HHS and LDS, also received a certificate of recognition from Superintendent Bill Jones for her work with Artsonia, a worldwide online art museum where more than 500 LDS student works have been displayed since 2007 (www.artsonia.com/ schools).

Ochsenbein, who noted that HHS had met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) criteria in the previous school year, presented the LSIC goals for the coming school year. They include a new computer lab, continuation of Multi-Cultural Day, organizing after-prom activities, a mentoring program for students at risk, and an expanding of a relationship with LDS.

He also announced a Challenge Program that makes cash awards to students in the areas of community service, attendance, and academic excellence and improvement.

Long Drain School LSIC President and eighth grade student Anna Barr asked the board to fund 30 new computers to replace aging units. She also asked the board for an additional SmartBoard.

LDS Principal Paul Huston noted that his school achieved AYP standards under a new version of the WesTest that focuses on applying knowledge rather than knowledge itself. The school ranked 157th out of 633 elementary schools in West Virginia.

In math, LDS scored a 71.2 percent, compared with 63.5 percent for other schools in the county and a 59.8 percent for all schools in the state. In reading/language arts, Long Drain students scored a 69.5 percent, compared with a county 62.5 percent and a 63 percent statewide.

In addition, Huston said LDS averaged better than other schools in the county and state in science and social studies, which are part of the WesTest, but not considered for AYP.

Huston also unveiled a preview of a school-produced video that will be uploaded to YouTube and other similar Web sites frequented by students on the dangers of prescription drug abuse. The clip also offers tips to parents on how to recognize a problem and how to talk to their children about it. The two-minute video features students, faculty, and staff members from both LDS and HHS.

Huston also announced that the state department of education has asked his school to participate in a pilot project that will use laptop computers instead of traditional textbooks.

Before adjourning, the board took under advisement several complaints that seemed to reflect widespread discontent among students and adults about a recently-imposed state meal program.

Superintendent Bill Jones and Director of Ancillary Services Brian Jones responded that the school system was doing what it was directed to do. A student commented that the state board of education should concern itself more with the quality of education. That may have summarized aptly the sense of others present at the meeting

The Wetzel County Board of Education approved a request Sept. 8 from Carolyn Hizer for her daughter to continue attending Wetzel County Schools for the 2009-10 school year. The board of education approved a similar request from Ryan and Jacqueline Layman for their two children, pending release from the Marshall County School System.

The board also approved separate requests from Anthony R. Glover and from Jennifer L. Headley to allow their children to attend Tyler County Schools.

In addition, the board approved a request from Loraine Williams to allow her home-schooled child to attend sixth grade at Short Line School and participate in instruction for art, physical education, and music classes during the current school year.

Upon recommendation of the principal, Magnolia High School senior Brianna Leek will be permitted to attend classes on a half-day basis, providing she accumulate sufficient credits to meet graduation requirements.