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Board Approval Bets On One Kindergarten Class At PCES

By Staff | Feb 10, 2010

Paden City Elementary School has 27 kindergarten students this year, a sufficient number under state policy for the present two classes.

But the Wetzel County Board of Education hedged its bet Monday night that there will be fewer than 25 Kindergarten students next year and approved the transfer of one kindergarten teacher to New Martinsville School next year.

Deborah L. Allen appeared at a special meeting of the board Feb. 8, asking it to not to approve County Superintendent of Schools Bill Jones’ recommendation to transfer her, based on the current enrollment.

Allen also asked the board to consider the possibility that some present students will be retained in kindergarten, which may increase the number enrolled for next year and make it necessary to form two classes.

By state policy, classes with more than 25 students require a subsequent class to be formed. That same policy says that fewer than that number requires only one class.

Administration attorney Rick Boothby of the Parkersburg office of Rice-Bowles and Assistant Superintendent Jay Yeager did acknowledge that retentions are possible. Yeager also is county director of personnel.

However, they noted that statute prohibits the board from eliminating a position after March 15, but allows the board to rescind a transfer before Aug. 15-sort of a no-man’s land created by the state legislature.

School System Treasurer Jeff Lancaster testified that transferring Allen now would save about $50,000 in direct and indirect costs for the next school year-money that could be redeployed to another area.

Moving Allen to NMS next year meant the “bumping” of the least senior teacher there, Shannon Palmer, out of a job for the 2010-11 school year. She was placed on the Reduction-in-Force Preferred Recall list for next school year.

Last year, PCES was the only school in the county that gained enrollment, a point suggested by the other PCES kindergarten teacher, Eliot Kendle, who testified in Allen’s behalf.

In addition to Allen, other full-time professional employees who were scheduled for transfer next year are Laura A. Barcus, Paula S. Cumberledge, and Cynthia S. Weber.

Christopher D. Roberts, a halftime professional worker, also will be reassigned.

Service workers affected by the board’s decision are Bonnie A. Martin, Denise L. Poling, Kelly D. Taylor, and Barbara L. Yeager. Service workers cannot be reassigned. They must bid on jobs that were made vacant by retirement, resignation, or RIFing.

All will have jobs next year. They just don’t know exactly where, yet.

Earlier in the day, Allen picked up her husband at a Charleston airport as he returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq. He is with the U. S. Army National Guard.