Schools, The Braxton Democrat

Dr. Ethan Backus Recognized at Board of Education Meeting

The most recent regular meeting of the Braxon County Board of Education was held on April 23.
Ethan Backus was recognized by the board as being named WV Academy Science Teacher of the Year to open the meeting. BCHS Principal Lori Stover-Williams spoke on his accomplishments as well as his certifications in science. He is one of the Project Lead the Way engineering program instructors at the high school.
Next to speak was Little Birch Principal Jessica Pierson with an update on her school. Scores are improving in both ELA and math and the chronically absent students have dropped from 32% to 8.4%. The school is working on addressing low performing areas and improving school culture.
Director of Legal Services Melissa Adkins briefly discussed the 2024-25 staff realignment plan. The previous treasurer informed the board that they would need to cut the salary budget by $1.1 million dollars. With the staff realignment plan, the budget will be cut by $952,000. Also, there are currently 20 vacancies in the school system. Those individuals who are a part of the Reduction in Force plan that are placed on the preferred call list will have the first opportunity to apply for those positions. Dr. Kenna Seal noted many students in home school, private, charter and virtual schools which affect the funding for the school system. Director Adkins mentioned changes in the federal funding for the Title I led to the cutting of Title I teachers from six to three. The staff realignment plan was approved on a motion by Dr. Seal and the complete list can be found on the school website
The board approved the following personnel professional recommendations on action led by Larry Hardway: Roger Singleton resigns his position as technology systems specialist due to retirement effective June 30; and employment of Chloe Frame Martin as substitute.
Another personnel item approved by board members was the probationary and continuing contract renewals for the 2024-2025 school year. This list can also be found on the school website and was approved on a motion by Lisa Ratliff.
Director of Teaching and Learning Linda Sears came before board members for the final vote for the school calendar. Option 2 was overwhelmingly the favorite based on staff voting. Out of 173 votes, 124 were for option 2 and 49 for option 1. Kevin Gregory made a motion to adopt option 2.
Gregory also made introduced action for the adoption of the mathematics materials at a cost of $225,557.67.
On a motion by Lisa Ratliff, the board approved to purchase SchoolFunds Online (SFO). Director Adkins stated that legislation requires school systems to provided ways for parents/guardians to complete online payments. This was supposed to be in affect by March 2023. SFO will allow for that process as well as update the current accounting programs used by the central office. The current accounting program is over 30 years old, is no longer supported, and will not run on new computers.
Under regular business, the board approved the following consent agenda items on a motion by Lisa Ratliff: April 16 regular and special meeting minutes; budget transfers and supplements; and payment of bills.
The board approved to put Policy 2501-Extra-Curricular/Interscholastic Physical Education Policy for Braxton County Schools out for the third reading on a motion by Kevin Gregory. No comments have been received on the new policy.
One training trip request and two field trip requests were approved on separate motions. Dr. Leatha Williams and Christina Bailey will attend the SREB Making Schools Work Pre-conference and Conference, July 8-12 in Nashville, TN; BCHS FBLA students and advisor will travel to Kennywood in West Mifflin, PA on May 3 and BCHS baseball team and coaches will go to PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA on May 23 for a baseball game.
All board members discussed the difficulty of the previous few days but believe the school system is moving in the right direction.
Board President Evelyn Post once again brought up the issue of bus runs. Director Adkins stated the new Transportation Director would be doing a complete review of all bus runs and hopefully will be able to find solutions.
With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:15 pm. The next regular meeting is scheduled for May 7 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.