By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
In an attempt to catch up recognizing student achievements from the 2019-20 school year, the Tucker County Board of Education invited the Golden Horseshoe winners to attend the meeting and receive their certificate. Jonathan Hicks, Athletic and Facilities Director had the privilege of recognizing Macy Helmick and Abby Wilfong as the Tucker County winners. This test has been given to the eight grade class since the 1930’s in all 55 counties.
Before the regular session, Hicks along with Ted Shriver, President of Williamson Shriver Architects via speakerphone presented the Tucker County Board of Education with the 10-year CEFP plan. These plans are required by all 55 counties but are a fluid plan to accommodate unexpected events or circumstances. “As a part of CEFP, I met with Jonathan (Hicks) and reviewed all of your existing facilities, from a facilities standpoint, to determine what items are needed to be updated to meet codes and standards as well as Policy 6200,” Shriver said.
After all reviews were made, priorities were set for the school with associated costs where relevant. Doors and window replacements and repairs ranked highest on the list for both Davis Thomas Elementary Middle School and Tucker County High School. Fire alarm work, masonry cleaning, drainage improvements, new roofs, and HVAC improvements were also identified in the facilities portion of the review. A finance plan was developed to accommodate the 10 year plan, but Shriver explained the proposal is fluid due to many varying factors. Hicks added that this plan is what will be used when seeking out grants and funding to show the need of the county schools. All members voted in favor of approving the plan as presented.
Lindsay Hull, senior at TCHS and President of the Thespians Group, shared some of the successes and involvement of the group over the last couple years and stated she has become inspired to form a mentorship program with fifth through eighth grade students to introduce them to the theatrical arts. This program will be carried out online and each interested student will be paired with a high school student that will be in contact once per month to discuss all topics relating to theatre. Hull continued with sharing statistics that show students involved with the theatre programs score higher on their ACT tests and gain skills that will be a lifelong benefit. “This sounds really good,” said President Tim Turner, “You came up with this on your own?” Hull responded that she did and she is working closely with her theatre director Catherine Chambers.
Vice President Daniel “Chopper” Evans asked if the meeting was held regarding the Hyperloop coming to Tucker County. Lambert and Hicks contacted the representative for an introduction and are planning a meeting in the upcoming weeks after her relocation from Los Angeles, Calif.
Two additional DTEMS students will be leaving the public school system to take part in homeschool. The minutes from October 5 and the payment of bills were approved as presented.
Lambert moved into personnel and recommended the following hires: Darren Burnside, Intervention Itinerant at TVEMS effective August 2021, Scottie Bowley, Lynda Gray, Ashley Novallis, Deborah Boggs, and Karie Winston as 2020-21 Substitute Teachers. Board member Chris Gross made a motion to approve the recommendations with a second by Evans. It was noted that some individuals’ employment are pending background checks and/or certification.
It was also requested to approve Steve Frymyer as a Substitute Custodian, Michael Wamsley, Substitute Bus Driver, and Michael Winans, Long-Term Substitute Bus Driver until the operator is released by physician. All members were in agreement.
Within extra-curricular, Lambert recommended approving Jonathan Hicks as a Volunteer Head Girls Basketball Coach at TVEMS and Dave Lambert as a Volunteer Assistant Boys Basketball Coach at TVEMS. A motion was made by Gross and a second by Evans with all in favor.
To conclude personnel, Lambert requested the approval of 12 weeks Family Medical Leave of Absence for Gifted Teacher Melissa Tauscher. Gross made the motion to go into Executive Session with a second by Board Member Jessica Wamsley. Upon return, Turner asked for a motion to approve the recommendation, which was done by Wamsley and Gross with all in favor.
Budget adjustments and the September financial statements were presented by Finance Director Tracy Teets. Since the last meeting, Teets spoke with the Treasurer in Pocahontas County regarding their enrollment numbers since Tucker County’s funding formula takes those numbers into the equation. It was confirmed that their number of students has decreased for the 2020-21 school year which, unless changes are made, will result in a decrease in funding to Tucker County Schools. With all counties facing a decrease in enrollment, the topic is being discussed among Superintendents and state officials.
A contract between Tucker County Schools and TSA Consulting Group, Inc. was approved along with a Memorandum of Understanding with Burlington United Methodist Family Services, Inc.
Lambert said, “Right now we have two positive cases at Davis Thomas.” She continued to explain the quarantine requirements is what is presenting the biggest problem for the schools as it not only removes the students from the schools, but potentially teachers, aids, bus drivers, and other school personnel. This then presents a problem filling those vacancies as some substitutes do not feel comfortable covering a position where there was a known positive case. Wamsley asked why quarantine requirements were different for other county schools, but that answer was unknown.