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Upshur County Board of Education posts new policies for public comment

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Board of Education has posted proposed new policies for public comment.

Upshur County Schools Superintendent Christy Miller said the first two revamped policy sections are now available for viewing on the BOE website. From the link, click “Policies out for Comment – January 2024” and then on the next page, tap the “Policies” button on the top-right of the page. You can comment on the policies by clicking the link on the BOE website or by clicking here.

“We have configured the bylaws and [finance] policies; they will be out for public comment until February 15,” Miller said. “There will be a link that will be placed on the county website so people have access to look at those, along with a public comment form. Anyone can read those, and you can comment on them if there are any things you think we need to take into consideration. Once that comment period closes, the two groups of policies will then be forwarded to [State Superintendent of Schools Michele] Blatt, and her group will look at comments. Then she will approve those first two sections.”

More policies will be made available for public comment from February through June, Miller said, so that by July the policy manual will be complete.

Miller also gave an academic report during Tuesday’s Upshur County Board of Education meeting, as well as an update on attendance.

“We just completed our second quarter data meetings with all of our schools,” she said. “Growth is evident at all levels — some more than others, as is to be expected. School-level audits will begin in February. These are very much like the old [Office of Education Performance Audits], with the exception that they are focused on the high-quality standards for West Virginia schools. There are seven of those standards that we will be specifically looking for.”

Miller said chronic absenteeism has improved from last year but could use more work.

“Our chronic absenteeism rate as of today is 20.04%,” she said. “That is an improvement over last year. I still would like to see that go down; some of the students who may show that they’re chronically absent now will not be as we add more days to the calendar. Our year-to-date attendance for the county is 93.34%; we really need to work on getting that up to 95.”

Miller explained the difference between chronic absenteeism and the attendance rate.

“Chronic absenteeism relates to whether a student is actually in the seat, so if it’s an excused absence, it still counts against them being chronically absent,” Miller said. “We have 180 separate instructional days, so if they miss 10% or more of those days, they are considered chronically absent.”

Miller also posted the answers to several questions raised by the public in a written format, which can be found on My Buckhannon.

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