Board Upholds Suspension And Expulsion
At the Jan. 7 meeting of the Wetzel County Board of Education, two executive sessions were held, one regarding the suspension of a board employee and one pertaining to a student expulsion. Board members voted to uphold Superintendent Diane Watt’s recommendations as to each case. The board employee was given one day of unpaid suspension “of employee contract for violation of Employee Code of Conduct.” The Wetzel County student was expelled for 12 months for violating the Safe Schools Act and Wetzel County Board of Education Policy “JFC.” No further explanation for the actions was given.
In another matter, checks were presented to the four county libraries in Wetzel County. New Martinsville Public Library’s librarian, Janet Witten Conn, as well as Paden City Public Library’s librarian, Joanna Casto, were both on hand to accept their respective library’s donation.
“We do really appreciate the libraries,” stated Watt. “I do know personally, we appreciate them, and many of our staff members utilize them for resources. They have been gracious if we need the site for tutoring or other work.”
As for the Treasurer’s Report, Treasurer Jeff Lancaster asked for approvals concerning several transfers and increases in the budget, including an increase of $2,000 for each school. Lancaster described this as a “legislative appropriation” that schools can use for materials and supplies. He also mentioned $2,865 in “substitute reimbursements.” Lancaster stated that this money is given back to the board, when the state pulls teachers to attend trainings. These funds are to reimburse the school system for funds they use for substitutes. Lancaster also mentioned an “Energize Your Body” grant from Chesapeake Energy that the school nurses are participating in.
There was also a supplement in the budget of $69,092 which is made up of special education grants. Finally, $67,300 was received last week and was described as “a third round of S3 grant at Valley High School.” Part of these funds go toward the resource officer at Valley and part goes to various other items.
In another matter, Assistant Superintendent Jay Yeager passed out a paper to the board showing a timeline of personnel decisions that will have to be made. Yeager stated that at the next board meeting, himself and Lancaster would have a short report with “figures from computations we have received from the state.” “After that,” Yeager stated, “We can look at the number of positions we will try to eliminate.”
The reductions are mandated by the West Virginia Legislature’s school aid funding formula which is based on each county’s student population.
As to other matters, Watt stated that some improvements have been made with the county’s alternative learning systems. “If you recall,” she stated, “there are occasions we have students at an alternate site.” Watt stated that cameras had been ordered and on Jan. 4, “We started with Social Studies classes. We taped one Social Studies Class. The teacher presented the information on the whiteboard. We captured her audio and explanation and the whiteboard information.” Watt explained that this information was then input into EdLine, so the Social Studies teacher at the alternative learning center can pull that up when she needs it.”
Watt explained that after the social studies lessons are “on board, we have three other cameras and equipment we can implement at other places.” Watt said that right now, “We will look at other classes and look at students getting alternative education and play it by ear, to see where we should install.”
Also, Watt confirmed that on Dec. 20, “a quorum of board members and county commissioners canvassed the excess levy vote.” She stated that a quorum then “got together on Dec. 26” and declared the excess levy had passed.
Watt stated, “We really appreciate all citizens of Wetzel County that support that levy… In light of what I’ve talked about with technology or with recent tragedy in Connecticut, we’ve seen so many things we want to do with our school, and we really appreciate this.”