School board keeps levy rates steady

TENNERTON – Upshur County Board of Education members voted unanimously Tuesday evening to adopt the Levy Renewal Order, which will be on the ballot during a special election in the county Jan. 19, 2019.

The board said the levy will not add any additional taxes but will be a continuation of the previous levy call.

The levy specifies that funds needed are for instructional programs, supplies, materials and equipment, technology access and improvement, capital improvements and preventive maintenance, substitute employees, extracurricular activities and extended employment agreements, contracted services and student-related community services.

A breakdown of the proposed funding for the next five fiscal years includes: instructional programs, supplies ($200 per classroom teacher), materials and equipment for a total of $700,000 annually; technology access and improvement amounting to $400,000 annually; capital improvements and preventive maintenance adding up to $1 million annually; substitute employees equaling $450,000 annually; extracurricular activities and extended employment agreements totaling $336,000 annually; contracted services amounting to $250,000 annually; and student-related community services at a rate of $100,000 annually.

In sum, the levy renewal would bring in just over $3.2 million annually.

Dr. Sara Stankus, superintendent of Upshur County Schools, told board members there were just a couple changes to the levy call.

“One of the things that we are adding is an addition for active military and Veterans,” she said. “They will receive the pass to attend the school arts and sporting events. We have done this with our senior citizens and have received positive community support for this addition.”

“We think it will be a great addition to recognize those who have served in our community and another way to thank them for their service for our community and our country,” Stankus added.

Stankus said another addition was an emphasis on security.

“On the ballot, under capital improvement and preventive maintenance, we have $1 million for safety and security improvements as well as the general maintenance and upkeep of our facilities,” she explained.

Stankus said Upshur County received a security grant but said the school system wants to bolster the amount received.

“We are looking at adding or upgrading our cameras on our school buses,” she said. “That is one of the areas where we have concerns. There is only one driver on the bus and he or she is driving the bus.”

Upshur BOE members also unanimously approved a proposal that the levy election ballots be electronic.

Upshur County Schools Business Manager George Carver told board members they needed to decide whether the ballots would be paper or electronic.

“There is not a lot of difference in the cost,” Carver said. “I think the county clerk is advocating we go with an electronic ballot. If we go with a paper ballot, we have to print as many ballots as there are in the county, plus 10 percent. Usually for a levy election you have a 20, 30 or 40 percent turnout. That means the extra ballots would be thrown away.”

Carver said the county clerk’s office orders electronic ballots that can be used in the machines.

“We would only be charged by what is used,” he said. “Also, on election night, the counting of the votes becomes much easier with the electronic machines. So, we would know very soon what the outcome is.”

In other business, the vote for approval for a promissory note for substitute bus operators was tabled until a future meeting when all board members were present.

Board members Dr. Tammy Samples and Kristi Wilkerson were absent from Tuesday’s meeting due to illness.

Also, during Tuesday’s Upshur County BOE meeting, members voted unanimously to accept the following:

Resignations:
-Sarah L. Stansbury as substitute teacher, effective Nov. 1, 2018.

-Brian Brandish as head girls soccer coach at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle school, effective Nov. 8, 2018.

Employment, pending appropriate certifications and background check:
-Lauren Nicastro as itinerant guidance counselor for French Creek and Rock Cave Elementary schools, effective Dec. 3, 2018.

-Brian Williams as itinerant music/strings teacher at B-UMS, HES and WDES, effective Jan. 3, 2019.

-Kelsey Black as substitute teacher, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Gerald Thompson as substitute teacher, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Janna Vaught as substitute teacher, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Hallie Hurst as substitute teacher, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Amberly Stump as Title I tutor at French Creek Elementary School, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Tracy Hurst as itinerant special education/multi-categorical/autism at French Creek Elementary School, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Dion Wamsley as substitute cook for Upshur County Schools, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Katheryn Thompson as substitute cook for Upshur County Schools, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Thelma Norman as substitute cook for Upshur County Schools, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Bobby Westfall as substitute cook for Upshur County Schools, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Jessica Grose as substitute cook, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-The following individuals will be hired as substitute cooks, effective Nov. 14, 2018 – Paula Ball, Carrie Egress, Maria Rowan and Pamela Yeager.

-Jessica Grose as substitute aide, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Virginia Croaff as assistant girls basketball coach at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Charles “Chad” Wilfong as assistant girls basketball coach at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Sarah Hollen as sign language interpreter for Upshur County Schools, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Brian Webb as volunteer assistant girls basketball coach at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Diane Godwin as substitute school nurse, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Steve Linger as substitute custodian, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Diana Moore as substitute secretary, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

-Jessica Grose as extracurricular transportation aide, p.m. run, Bus No. 90, effective Nov. 14, 2018.

Transfers:
-Julie Mearns from speech language pathologist at Hodgesville Elementary School to speech language pathologist at Buckhannon Academy Elementary, effective with the 2019-2020 academic year.

The next Upshur County BOE meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 27 at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School.

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