Braxton Citizens' News, Schools

BoE hears updates on facilities and flooding

The Braxton Board of Education held a lengthy meeting on August 16. The majority of the meeting was a discussion of the facilities.

Dr. Brenda Wells, Facilities Director, went over the processes involved with facilities management with the new board members and superintendent. She discussed the importance of principals keeping her updated with work request using the SchoolDude program. She also reviewed funding options at the facility level.

Dr. Wells updated the board on the new gym at the middle school. Painting had been completed and work on the floor would begin September 12. The bleachers will be installed upon completion of the floor around September 28. The project should be completed by October 14. Board President Evelyn Post took the opportunity to thank Kelly Pritt for her work painting at the middle school.

Dr. Wells then discussed the issue of flooding at Flatwoods Elementary School. The technician would be running the camera through the culverts on August 17. One of the culverts near the school they know to be an issue already. That culvert is almost two-thirds full of dirt and debris. Dr. Wells, as well as board members, recognized Amanda Gum and her crew of volunteers that worked on getting the playground repaired before school started. The county spent over $4000 for the pea gravel that the volunteers used to complete the repairs. Larry Hardway noted he had spoken with OES Director John Hoffman with his safety concerns due to the flooding. Hoffman stated that the storm drain near the south entrance of the school was very inadequate. Possible actions to correct the issue included building a wall or redoing the drainage in that area. President Post stated she talked with the DOH district supervisor about having a meeting with the stakeholders involved with correcting the issues.

Other projects Dr. Wells discussed were the freezer at the high school, which is scheduled to be shipped mid-September, the replacement of the HVAC systems at the BCHS, and the new roof at the high school.

She also reviewed items that are needed for the facilities including a scissor lift, box truck, CTE van, dump truck with plow, BOE vehicles, and shop truck. Another area with major issues is the bus garage. Those issues have been placed on the bottom of the list as the repairs to buses come first.

She ended her presentation discussing the contract with EMCOR and their preventative maintenance plans.

The first person to speak to the board was Pamela Brown. She voiced her concerns with the boys’ soccer team at the high school. Currently only 11 players are on the team which leaves no subs if someone is injured or sick. She also is concern that the athletes will not have a break during the game as it consists of two straight 40 minute halves with only a 10 minute half-time. Dr. Tony Minney, BCHS Principal, noted that a 12th player has joined the team and once the first grading period is complete, a few more boys will be eligible to play. Boys’ soccer coach Rick Garavaglia noted that he can play games with as low as seven players and that they were trying to build the program. Coach Garavaglia also voiced concerns over a co-ed team.

Kevin Gregory briefly discussed the formation of different committees that were discussed during the goal setting meeting for the board members to serve on.

President Post asked about having the activity buses as an option for students. Dr. Wells stated the postings could start for those runs.

Superintendent Dr. Rhonda Combs discussed the numerous professional development trainings that were available to staff over the summer. She briefly talked about the districtwide training through Bowles Rice that went over the mandatory reporting, social media and bullying, and the employee code of conduct.

Dr. Combs noted the General Summative Assessment scores are now public. Director Linda Sears will be doing a presentation to board members at the September 6 meeting and the scores will be going out to students and their parents.

She noted the first day of school was a great first day and the only issue was a tree down across one road that delayed one bus route.

Dr. Combs informed board members that she made a change at the central office. Tim Via will now oversee safety and crisis management as well as his other duties. He will be attending training in October and will work on transitioning everything.

She ended with a brief discussion on covid. Dr. Combs noted she had been contact by the state department on updates with covid guidelines and testing kits for students.

The superintendent also presented the board with two options concerning the position of athletic director. The first was to hire a full-time position posted as assistant principal to the high school and districtwide athletic director. The second option was to increase the supplemental pay for the position as it is currently posted. Both Dr. Combs and Dr. Minney recommended the first option as most beneficial for the schools and to build the programs. Option one was approved on a motion by Larry Hardway with a second by Dr. Kenna Seal.

Under regular business, the board approved the following consent agenda items on a motion by Dr. Kenna Seal with a second by Kevin Gregory: approval of minutes for the July 27 special meeting/work session and the August 2 regular meeting; payment of bills; transportation requests; and budget transfers and supplements.

The following professional, service, and extra-curricular personnel recommendations were also approved on a motion by Larry Hardway with a second by Lisa Ratliff: employment of substitute teachers- John B. Schiefer, Heather Leach-Jones, Shannon Allen, and Rhonda Hunt, Christopher Chance McTaggart, social studies teacher, BCMS, Forrest Taylor, from special education teacher, BCMS to alternative education teacher, BCHS, Virginia Carpenter, from cook, Burnsville to cook, BCMS, Lisa Allen, cook, half-time position, BCHS, Heinrich Harman, special education supervisory/instructional/ transportation aide, Nathan Smarr, girls soccer coach, BCHS, and James Huffman and Nathan Short, co-assistant football coaches, BCMS; and resignations for Wesley Monk, elementary music teacher, Randall Brown, social studies, seventh grade and head boys basketball coach, BCMS, Patrick Facemire, art instructor/world language facilitator, BCMS, Clifton Long, biology, BCHS, Patty Montgomery, substitute teacher, Jeffrey Dennison, substitute bus operator, and Kevin Brown, mechanic/bus operator.

The board approved the fundraisers as presented and the permission to post for interventionist on two separate motions.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:54 pm. The next regular meeting is scheduled for September 6 at 6:00 pm. As always, members of the Braxton County community are encouraged to attend regular board meetings. Anyone wishing to speak as a delegate or with public concerns may do so by signing in up to 15 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.