JASON Argonauts Deliver Presentation At Board Meeting
By MADDISEN EIDEL
The Wetzel County Board of Education convened for a regular meeting on Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. at the County Office. During this meeting, several students and teachers were recognized for their achievements, checks were presented to various local libraries, and a presentation by the JASON Argonauts was heard along with the board’s routine matters.
First to be recognized was Trey Blain, who competed in the All State Golf Tournament. In addition to Blain, two teachers were recognized. Debra Price, Paden City band director, was awarded for achieving status in the West Virginia Marching Band Director’s Hall of Fame, and Craig Mason was presented with the Presidential Award.
Following this, the board presented four $10,000 checks to the following libraries: Hundred, New Martinsville, Paden City, and Pine Grove.
Once each library was presented with this, the JASON Argonauts began a presentation on their recent trip to the Amazon Rainforest, where students – Hallie McDonald and Madison Fetty – and local teacher Sharon Snider were able to experience many different wonders. The trio from Wetzel County traveled to the rainforest where they met up with other students and teachers and began their trip
During this trip, the Wetzel County crew was able to experience hikes in the rainforest during both night and day as well as piranha fishing; they were also given the chance to visit a shaman, a local school, and a wild animal rehabilitation center where they learned many different and exciting things about the new environment.
The Argonauts performed scientific tests while in the rainforest, and experienced many different types of species typical to this environment. McDonald, Fetty, and Snider all shared their experiences with the board, giving them a chance to look over the gifts they brought home and ask questions. The three also thanked Superintendent Edward Toman and the board for providing them with the opportunity to attend.
Following the presentation, Brian Wilson appeared before the board to discuss his desire to purchase land from them. He explained that the board owns land on Huff Ridge that is connected to his family farm. Wilson expressed his desire to expand the farm by placing a barn on the property in order to store hay and other necessary equipment. The board-owned property was said to be less than a quarter of an acre. However, Board President Warren Grace Jr. told Wilson that this is new information to them, and as such they would look it over and get back in touch with him at a later date.
Wilson was advised that if they choose to sell the property, they would be required to hold a public auction.
Grace then read the American Education Week Proclamation, which was said to be an annual observance providing the community the opportunity to celebrate education and honor those who ensure that students receive education. This observance lasts from Nov. 18 through the 22.
It was also announced that on Dec. 20, school would be dismissed two hours early in preperation of the upcoming holiday.
A motion was then made to approve the minutes of the Oct. 24 special meeting and the Oct. 28 regular meeting. This motion was quickly carried.
In other business, the board then attended to the following personnel matters:
Lois Cecil requested the board accept her resignation from the position as Cook at New Martinsville School due to retirement, effective Dec. 31. Also requesting acceptance of resignations was Jordan D. Hall from his position as assistant football coach at Hundred High School, effective Oct. 30; Ramie J. Reed from the position of Professional Accountant, effective Nov. 29; and Sarah M. Tustin from the position of countywide substitute cook, effective Nov. 6.
Holly M. Cain requested approval for change in assignment from Science Teacher at Magnolia High School to Countywide Technology Integration Specialist, 220-day contract, effective pending replacement. Joe O. Flesher Jr. also requested a change in assignment from daytime Custodian at WCTEC to evening Custodian at Magnolia High School, effective Nov. 19. Terrell K. Haught requested a change of assignment from Mechanic at Bus Garage to Supervisor of Transportation/Chief Mechanic at Bus Garage, effective Nov. 19.
Serena K. McCoy requested employment as countywide substitute cook, effective Nov. 19.
Under Extracurricular, the following individuals requested approval of employment: Jon D. Baker as 7th Grade Boys Basketball Coach at Paden City High School, effective the beginning of the 2019-2020 WVSSAC season; Joshua K. Fulks as 8th Grade Boys Basketball Coach at Paden City Elementary School, effective the beginning of the 2019-2020 WVSSAC season; Daniel L. Kelch as Wrestling Coach at Hundred High School, effective the beginning of the 2019-2020 WVSSAC season; and Michelle K. Weekley as SAT Coordinator at New Martinsville School for the 2019-2020 school year.
A motion to approve all requests was made by board member William Jones, and was seconded by Jay Yeager. The motion was carried.
A motion was then made by Yeager and seconded by Jones to approve of the following routine matters:
Randy Leek and Matt Lookadoo both requested for their children to continue attending Paden City Elementary School for the 2019-2020 school year pending release from Tyler County Schools.
The following out of state trip requests were also made: Marsha Stackpole to take the 8th grade class at Short Line School to Williamsburg, VA June 1 through the 3, 2020, which will be funded through student fundraisers; Elliott Kendle and Sadonna Kimble to take the 5th and 6th grade students from PCE on a field trip to the Castle Museum and Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, OH on Nov. 20, 2019, which was funded through student fees; Lindsay Cain to take students from Magnolia High School on a field trip to the ‘Mummies of the World” exhibition at the Carnegie Science Center on Dec. 5, 2019, which will be funded through student fees; Michael Harwick, Jan Emch, Lindsay Cain, and Cole Simms to take the 10th grade biology students from MHS to the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA on Feb. 7, 2020, funded through student fees; and JC Kimble to take the eligible seniors from Valley High School on a field trip to Pigeon Forge, TN on May 20 through the 22, 2020, which will be funded through current funds, fundraising, and student fees.
Also in need of approval was an Affiliation Agreement which outlines the responsibilities of West Virginia University and Wetzel County Schools in regards to the practicum, internship, or student teaching experience for Program Students enrolled in the student training program of WVU, effective Jan. 13, 2020 through June 30, 2024.
The following individuals were requested by the School Principal to be Chaperones/Volunteers for the 2019-2020 school year: Natasha Harrison for PCHS and Crystal Blake fo PCE.
The motion to approve of all of these matters was quickly carried.
Jones then made a motion to approve the payment of the bills for the month of Oct. Yeager seconded this motion, and it was quickly carried.
Discussion was then held in relation to the Valley Field House regarding Grae-Con Construction and McKinley and Associates. It was said that an attorney spoke with Grae-Con and was told that the price of the project would be lower if they were to start work in the Spring rather than in the winter. Yeater said that if they were to do this, they would need assurance that it would be completed before August.
It is also the board’s hope that they will return to the original, agreed upon price, which was $756,000. While this price was never put in a contract, that was the price that the two parties originally agreed upon. It was said that if Grae-Con returns to the original price, they would “have a deal.” More information on this subject was reportedly going to be available to the board at the end of the week
While discussing committee reports, Grace told the board that each county board of education was being asked to consider if they are interested in entering in a lawsuit along with other interested boards against the pharmaceutical companies responsible for the opioid crisis. However, Grace explained that he believed the best course of action is to first speak with a lawyer on the wisdom of this action. He defended himself saying that many pharmaceutical companies that have been in this position in the past have gone bankrupt, and he didn’t want to waste money going after something that would not profit them. In addition to this, Grace said that while in court proceedings, the board would be asked to prove in their budget where they’ve been damaged, and he feared they wouldn’t be able to offer sufficient proof. Therefore, he told the board that he would seek legal advice on this matter before a decision would be made.
After announcing when the next regular board meeting would take place, the meeting was adjourned.
On Thursday, Nov. 21 at 8 a.m., the board held a special meeting to attend to additional personnel matters.
The following resignations were approved by the board: Beth A. Ritz from the position as countywide substitute secretary, effective Nov. 6, and Andrea N. Sell from the position as countywide substitute teacher aide, effective Nov. 5.
Approval for employment was granted for the following individuals: Charles M. Duke as Professional Accountant at the county office, 261-day contract, effective Nov. 22; Aaron J. Yost as countywide substitute teacher, effective Nov. 22; and Cameron L. Phillips as assistant wrestling coach at Hundred High School, effective the beginning of the 2019-2020 WVSSAC season.
Approval was also granted for the following changes in assignment: Paul E. Guignet from countywide substitute bus operator to Bus Operator – Special needs Bus #16-1 countywide, effective Nov. 22; and David J. Pfalzgraf from afternoon custodian at NMS to daytime custodian at WCTEC/Bus Garage, 228-day contract, effective Nov. 22.
The Wetzel County Board of Education will meet again on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. at the County Office for a regular meeting.