School board OKs retirement incentive, to finalize school calendar earlier

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BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — Upshur County professional employees, service personnel and administrators who give early notice of their retirement by March 1, 2019 and complete the 2018 to 2019 school year will each receive a $500 incentive bonus provided through county funds.

Upshur County Board of Education members unanimously approved the bonus during Tuesday’s meeting at Tennerton Elementary School. Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said the incentive is put forth by the state and the county.

“If the staff notifies us early of their intent to retire, we issue the incentive,” Stankus said. “We have done this for the last 20 years.”

BOE members also voted to change the dates of the public hearings on the 2019 to 2020 school calendar so the calendar can be finalized sooner. The original dates for the hearings were slated for Feb. 26 and March 26. They will now be held on Jan. 22 and Feb. 12, 2019.

Curriculum and Facilities Director Tim Derico, who serves on the calendar committee, said the group had one meeting with the adjoining counties Upshur County coordinates with.

“The thought was, if we could move it up a little bit to get to the approval process, we could let family members know so they can make plans sooner,” Derico said. “Just as a caveat, the preliminary planning looks very similar to what we have as a calendar now.”

Dr. Debra Harrison reported on the new Virtual Schools Project at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.

“We have our first class in place,” Harrison said. “We had training last week with Gloria Burdette from the state department. She came to Buckhannon-Upshur High School and worked with the students, parents and staff.”

Harrison commended everyone on the Virtual School Project team.

“We are well on our way with the pilot program,” she said. “We have 11 students. There was one senior we were going to lose if they were not included.”

Upshur County Schools business manager George Carver said early voting for the levy renewal is currently underway.

“There are some things that have been published and a few things that still need to be published in the next few days,” Carver said.

BOE members encouraged the public to vote in the levy election.

Derico updated BOE members about facility issues.

“Over the break, we got caught up on a few things,” Derico said. “We had a hot water issue at the middle school that was resolved as well as one at the high school. Our crews are finishing some flooring in the gym and concession area of the middle school. There was some peeling and they were getting ready to repair that, but they stopped us and put down concrete like is in the rest of the building.”

BOE members had two executive sessions – one to discuss the J.H. Consulting summary of services and a second one regarding student issues and for possible approval of a request of a homebound student to participate in extracurricular activities.

The next regular Upshur County BOE meeting is slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2019 at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School.