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Superintendent Explains Policy Revision, Board Approves It

By Staff | Dec 7, 2011

During the Wetzel County Board of Education meeting held Monday night the board approved the first reading of two Wetzel County Policies, one of which, regarding paid leave, was the topic of discussion. Superintendent Diane Watt addressed this and other issues during the brief meeting held at the county office.

Board member Amy Dieffenbauch noted she had received many calls from teachers regarding Wetzel County Policy GCBD which dealt with paid leave. She asked the superintendent what the reason for the changes in the policy were, to which Watt replied that in general, changes were made to simply clean up the policy. Watt expanded on this matter, saying she felt the policy needed to be more clear on the correct reasons, by law, for which one can receive paid leave. Also, due to a larger number of call-offs in the past, it seemed fair to expect employees to have a doctor’s note if they called off work three consecutive days in a row. The same policy goes for students in that regard. She also stated she wanted employees to understand the correct way to call off to make sure substitutes would be secured. “It’s just an overall general reminder,” Watt concluded.

Dieffenbauch then asked why the policy went out to employees before the board made a decision on the matter, against what is usually standard practice with the county. Watt explained that because this policy affected every employee, she “thought it best everyone be informed” and that this policy not be kept “under the radar.”

Board Vice President Bob Patterson commented he felt the new policy was fair and an improvement to the former.

Along with Policy GCBD, the board also approved the first reading of Wetzel County Policy GCDA-R, Attendance Director/Student Support Services Coordinator/At-Risk Programs.

Under other items, Watt also brought up the possibility of Magnolia High School dropping from double A to single A in classification. She noted the administration is being very cautious on how they should proceed in the matter, adding the decision does not need to be made until April.

According to projected enrollment, Principal Kathi Schmalz has shared with the superintendent that it looks like enrollment will be declining in the coming years. However at this time, the school is in a tough situation, being at the low end of double A classification but at the high end of single A.

Watt told the board that Schmalz is going to consider everyone’s input on the issue but that in the end the administration will pick “what’s best for the athletes.”

Under routine matters, the board approved Jeff Sands’ request to take the Hundred High School Chorus to Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, Pa., to see a Christmas concert performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Mendelssohn Choir directed by Marvin Hamlisch on Dec. 15. The will leave after school dismissal for the 7:30 p.m. concert. This trip is funded through fund raisers.

Also, the board approved a request from Rhonda Fiest and Mark Lemasters to take students from MHS to attend a matinee performance of the Broadway show Billy Elliott at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Feb. 11, 2012. This trip is funded through student fees.

Lastly, the board established Dec. 19, Jan. 3, and Jan. 17 as upcoming regular meeting dates to be held at 7 p.m. at the county office.