Braxton Citizens' News, Town Meeting

Gassaway Train makes it’s way to Board of Ed agenda

The Braxton County Board of Education opened the most recent meeting on September 6 with Lois Cole, resident of the Town of Gassaway, speaking to the board about issues at the town park which is used by Davis Elementary. She presented the board with photos of a wooden train she had purchased for the town park. The town approved the placement of the train in the park, but now has said the train cannot be in there due to the school children using the park, noting a letter sent by the superintendent to the town. Cole has requested a copy of the letter from the Town of Gassaway repeatedly but has not received it. She asked the board for a copy of the letter. Cole posed several other questions including state code about wood on playgrounds and the agreement between the town and the school system for use of the town park. She also noted funds had been raise for other playground equipment for students and residents to use, but she has been unable to move forward on because of the issue of wooden equipment on the playground.

Board President Evelyn Post informed Cole that Superintendent Dr. Rhonda Combs will research the issue to find answers to her questions and will have a report prepared for the next meeting. Board member Larry Hardway thanked Lois Cole for her hard work she has done for the revitalization of the town park over the last few years.

Director Linda Sears presented the board with an update on the WV General Summative Assessment results. She noted the proficiency rates are “not good at all and need to be addressed,” but she also stated there were “some pockets of good” in the results and it was not all bad. Sears discussed plans on working to correct issues with scores including the expansion of iReady to the middle school, addressing attendance issues, data analysis with staff and students, and the addition of advance classes at the middle school level.

Superintendent Combs presented her goals to board members for the upcoming year. Items included were increasing proficiency and graduation rates and addressing chronic absenteeism in the schools. She also noted she wanted to look at the breakdowns of issues affecting learning that were occurring outside of instructional time.

Dr. Leatha Williams presented the board information on purchasing new camera and phone systems for the school system. The camera systems need to be upgraded for Sutton, Davis, Little Birch, Frametown, and Burnsville elementary schools. She presented the board with options for doing two schools this year and then two or three next year. Dr. Williams also noted the phone systems are considered at the “end of the service,” meaning there is no way to continue with updates for the system as it stands. The board approved for Dr. Williams to move forward with sending out Requests for Information for both projects and look at options for doing all five schools this year on a motion by Kevin Gregory.

Dr. Williams also gave the board a brief update on child nutrition policy changes, including the Wellness Policy and raises in rates for second and adult meals based on changes in state policy and inflation. The updated prices would be released publicly.

Under regular business, the board approved the following consent agenda items on a motion by Dr. Kenna Seal: approval of August 16 meeting minutes with correction; payment of bills; budget transfers and supplements; and corrected treasurer’s report.

The board had a brief executive session from 6:29pm to 6:47pm to discuss personnel. The following professional, service and extra-curricular personnel recommendations were approved on two separate motions following the executive session: resignations for Eva Riffle, fifth grade teacher, Burnsville and Marcy Hamilton, bus operator; employment of Jacob Yanero, substitute teacher and co-assistant football coach, BCHS, Myrtle Copen, elementary music teacher, Cynthia Sprouse, instructional interventionist, Burnsville, Katrina Dennison, instructional interventionist, Davis, Gail Balcourt, instructional interventionist, Flatwoods, Donna Lambert, instructional interventionist, Frametown, John B. Schiefer, instructional interventionist, Sutton, Ocie Allen, fifth grade teacher, Burnsville, Treva Simons, substitute custodian, Lisa Allen, from half-time cook BCHS to Burnsville, George Dennison, activity bus operator, BCMS/BCHS to Airport Road to Flatwoods, to Burnsville, Shirley Skidmore, activity bus operator, BCMS/BCHS to Davis to Frametown, Billy Rose, activity bus operator, BCMS/BCHS to Sutton to Little Birch, and Kristi Martin, $1 assistant cheer coach, BCMS; and leave for Teresa Childers, extended medical leave.

All fundraisers that were presented were approved on a motion by Lisa Ratliff. Also approved was the permission to post for mentors on a motion by Dr. Seal and the travel request for Dr. Grace Wine, Little Birch Principal, to attend a conference in Pittsburgh, PA October 17-18 was approved on a motion by Lisa Ratliff.

Board members discussed adding meeting dates based on state requirements for financials. Those dates will be added to the agenda for the next meeting to be approved. Dr. Seal asked about the iReady program in schools and the issues with the new WVEIS program. Kevin Gregory informed board he would not be able to attend the September 20 meeting. He also asked about the protocol for visiting schools as a board member. Dr. Combs asked the board members to let her know so she can inform the principals. President Post commented on the start of activity buses for after school programs.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:33 pm. The next regular meeting is scheduled for September 20 at 6:00 pm.