Board of Education vice president asks that bimonthly meetings be live-streamed

FRENCH CREEK – A member of the Upshur County Board of Education is requesting that twice-monthly BOE meetings be live-streamed to enhance transparency.

Upshur BOE Vice President Jan Craig has asked that meetings be live-streamed at previous BOE meetings, and during the Tuesday, Oct. 11 BOE meeting at French Creek Elementary School, she once again posed the question. Craig requested that the Upshur BOE look into the logistics of live-streaming their meetings via Facebook Live.

“Okay guys – I have asked six times,” Craig said. “When can we do Facebook for our meetings? I am watching them for all of the other (surrounding) counties. I think [to enable] open, honest, accountable information, we have loads of people who are asking for it. Lewis County has now been doing it for a month and has been successful with it.”

Craig said she has said it before.

“Wirt County has a following of about 200 people – in little, tiny Wirt County,” Craig said. “We want people to know the things we are doing.”

Upshur County Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison said she agreed with Craig.

“I will work with Kayla (Yocum, technology specialist) to see what we need to do as the next step and we will have a report for the board at the next meeting,” Harrison said.

Craig said Facebook Live of the meetings was available for the board meetings earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Buckhannon utilizes the services of Channel 3 of Buckhannon to live-stream their meetings on Channel 3’s YouTube Channel and on its Facebook page.

“Wilson Harvey did it [previously during the pandemic] and we had a pretty good following,” Craig said. “Many other counties are doing it.”

Harrison said Upshur County Schools is concerned with transparency.

“We want to let the public know what is going on during meetings,” Harrison said. “That would be a good way to try and facilitate that. I do not know what the rules, guidelines and regulations are, but we will work very closely with our technology folks to see if we can make it happen.”

“I think if we get stopped, we have several other counties who have done this ahead of us,” Craig said.

Upshur County Schools Director of Federal Programs Jody Johnson reported that Upshur County Schools received a literacy grant and said the funds would be used to pay for studying the Reggio Emilia preschools in Italy. This trip was approved prior by the BOE pending the grant was received to cover the expenses of the trip.

Buckhannon-Upshur High School Principal Randolph West shared that approximately 90 students took the ASVAB test two weeks ago. The ASVAB is the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test and is a multiple-aptitude battery used for those who chose military careers. West said that normally there are approximately 90 students who take the test yearly and said it will be offered again in the spring of 2023.

Upshur County BOE member Daya Wright was appointed and approved unanimously by BOE members to serve on the Upshur County Parks and Recreation Board, which was previously served by BOE member Patrick Long, who resigned from his position.

Also, during Tuesday’s BOE meeting, members voted to approve the slate of personnel recommendations for retirement, resignation, transfer and employment. That list included the approval of Michael Donato as assistant principal at Buckhannon-Upshur High School and Jason Westfall as head boys’ basketball coach at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.

The next regular meeting of the Upshur County BOE is slated for Tuesday, Oct. 25 at Washington District Elementary School. There will be a final informational meeting about the Upshur County School Levy Continuation at WDES prior to the BOE meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m., which offers voters the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about renewing the Levy which has been in place since 1999.

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