By Beth Christian Broschart
The Parsons Advocate
PARSONS – The potential cutting of a Tucker County High School program prompted folks to come to Monday’s BOE meeting and speak about the benefits of the program, and how graduates of that program will be needed for jobs in the future.
Monday’s BOE meeting included an open hearing about the potential reduction in force of Neal McDermott, who currently teaches the carpentry class at Tucker County High School. Reducing McDermott would have eliminated the carpentry class, a void many local residents did not want to see happen.
Tucker County resident Joey Parsons spoke out against cutting the carpentry program at TCHS.
“I work in the woodworking industry as a supervisor at Greenfield Cabinetry,” Joey Parsons said. “I want to stress the importance of the industry because there are a lot of jobs and opportunity and the kids need that structure.”
Joey Parsons said he spoke with folks at Greenfield Cabinetry and they are willing to help.
“We could offer some tours and possibly even an internship to help,” Joey Parsons said. “We could possibly even donate some materials if that would help later on to help offset the cost. We need people that are passionate about that kind of work who are willing to work in the industry.”
Joey Parsons said there will always been a need for carpenters.
“There is always going to be carpenters and electricians,” he said. “We all live in houses and someone has to build them.”
Tim Clontz, plant manager at Greenfield Cabinetry in Elkins, said his company struggles to find qualified help.
“We need this program in this area,” Clontz said. “We could do some internships and we could look at different things you need help with. We are looking at expanding over the next 12 to 18 months and will need to add 15 to 20 people. We struggle to find qualified help and it would cause injury to us to see these programs go away.”
Former TCHS carpentry instructor and former BOE member Jarod Parsons, Tucker County Development Director Anne Jones, Woodlands Development Director representative Karen Jacobsen, Colonel Al Tomson and carpentry business owner Matt Helmick all spoke about the importance of keeping the carpentry class, asking BOE members not to cut the program.
When BOE members voted on reducing the carpentry program at TCHS and Neal McDermott, the motion to reduce McDermott and the carpentry program died for lack of a second on the motion.
TCHS Junior Hope Roy spoke about the importance band and music has played in her life and asked BOE members not to cut the band program.
Reductions in force and transfers to subsequent assignment include:
Jacqueline Roy, DTEMS, TCS Title I coordinator and Title I math was transferred for subsequent assignment;
Megan Helmick, DTEMS, grade I teacher was transferred to subsequent assignment;
Alison Rapp, DTEMS, reading Title I reading, was transferred for subsequent assignment;
Rachel Stafford, DTEMS/TCHS, social studies teacher was transferred for subsequent assignment;
James Cook, TCHS social studies teacher was reduced from the force;
Denver Gaydon, DTEMS/TCHS music teacher was transferred for subsequent assignment;
Lora Bennett, TCHS instructional aide was transferred for subsequent assignment;
Bus aides Barbara Quattro, Idella Scott, Linda Nelson, Trina Carr, Donna Bolinger and Roxcella Owens were reduced from the force.
David Lambert, Director of Finance for Tucker County Schools, said even with this year’s RIF and transfer, Tucker County Schools will not be reducing its total number be employees.
“This RIF and transfer season, like each of the last 3-5, was designed to re-allocate positions to areas of need as opposed to reducing positions for financial reasons. The board will employ the same amount of administrators, teachers and service personnel as currently staffed,” Lambert said.
During Monday’s BOE meeting, the board voted to approve a 2-hour early dismissal for March 10. BOE members also voted to hire Ronald Canfield as custodian II at TVEMS effective Feb. 16, Donald Canfield as custodian II at DTEMS effective with the 2016-2017 school year, Jack Mullenax as assistant track coach TVEMS and Del Gainer as volunteer assistant softball coach at TVEMS.
The next Tucker County Board of Education meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. March 7 at the Tucker County Board office.