Braxton Citizens' News, Schools

Board hears numerous reports and concerns

The Braxton County Board of Education conducted their most recent regular meeting on April 11.

Superintendent Dr. Rhonda Combs gave a brief update to board members on the benchmark data from the third quarter, the Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) process at Flatwoods Elementary, and personnel transfers.

Dr. Brenda Wells, Transportation Director, informed the board the opening of the van bids will be April 25 at 11:00 am.

Linda Sears, Director of Teaching and Learning, presented the 2023-2024 school calendars for the second reading. No comments had been made and now the calendars will go out to staff for voting. The board will approve the final calendar at the April 18 meeting.

Board members briefly discussed the request for financial funding for the freshman class field trip. The funding came from an out-of-state donor. President Evelyn Post noted that the board needs to support the students’ enrichment and not rely on individuals from other states.

Director of Technology Dr. Leatha Williams informed the board that two comments had been made, one by a school nurse and one from the high school, concerning the updated Cell Phone and Electronic Communication Devices Policy. Dr. Comb stated she would like more information from the principals before approval.

Anita Lambert, BCMS CTE and Career Exploration teacher, and Mackinzy Anderson, Student Advisor for FBLA-ML, spoke to board members with their plans for the fundraising for national competition. Thirteen of the middle school FBLA students qualified for nationals by placing first and/or second at the recent state competition held at Marshall University. On a motion by Larry Hardway, the board approved their plans for fundraising.

Head Start Director Christina Bailey spoke to the board with updates for the Head Start program. She discussed the early enrollment for the preschool program and the continuing enrollment opportunities. She talked about the recent Hops with Pops Easter event and other projects including preschool gardens. She also updated board members on playground improvements and changes at various schools.

Director Bailey presented changes to the Head Start policy. She will bring those back to the board for final approval once the Policy Council has a chance to review and approved them.

The board discussed the grandparents program and all of the positive comments about it and the opportunities for the grandparents that are raising or helping raise their grandchildren.

Board member Larry Hardway discussed a call he had received from a substitute teacher at Burnsville concerning serious issues with the behavior of a student. This individual informed him that they felt unsafe to be in the classroom at times. He noted he had received a similar complaint from Flatwoods before. Dr. Combs noted she was aware of the issues and was working on finding a solution and would have it on the agenda for a discussion at the next meeting.

He also asked about the pay grades for substitutes and if they are sick and unable to work. Dr. Combs noted there is some flexibility in the pay but the policy does need to be revised. She would have that added to the agenda for an upcoming meeting.

Dr. Kenna Seal, Kevin Gregory, and Evelyn Post discussed attending the upcoming board training at Buckhannon on May 4. Lisa Ratliff stated she would be doing the virtual one and Larry Hardway will work out which one he will be attending.

Under regular business, the board approved the following consent agenda items on action by Lisa Ratliff: March 21 meeting minutes; transportation requests; budget transfers and supplements; and payment of bills.

On a motion by Larry Hardway, the following professional, service and extra-curricular personnel recommendations were approved: Jessica Rose, Forrest Taylor, Robert Lloyd, and Clifton Long, 2023 summer teachers, Christopher Wriston, from substitute bus operator to bus operator bus #33A, Scott Mosely, Mark Smyth, Lawrence Shaver, Darla Shaver, Iris Fowler, Charles Smith, Billy Rose, Veronica Frame, Steven Brown, and George Dennison, summer school bus operators, Bonnie Gendreau, summer school substitute bus operator; and resignation of Shannon Rhodes, $1 softball coach, BCMS.

Other items approved by board members on separate motions were fundraisers; posting for student officer workers, on per school for all eight schools, summer learning; posting for summer school special education aide and special education teacher for Exceptional Children’s Camp; proposed change order for walk-in cooler & freezer for BCHS; and the Head Start COLA (cost of living adjustment) and Quality Improvement Grants.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:28 pm. The next regular meeting will be April 18 at 6:00 pm.