Upshur Schools to apply for grant funding to construct new kindergarten, pre-K classrooms at TES

TENNERTON – The Upshur County School System proposed submitting an application for funding through the West Virginia School Building Authority to add two additional classrooms and make safety improvements at Tennerton Elementary School.

During the Tuesday, March 22 Upshur County Board of Education meeting, members approved Upshur County Schools’ recommendation to submit a proposal to the School Building Authority for Major Improvement Project grant funding for Tennerton Elementary School.

The proposal is to replace a 42-year-old modular building at Tennerton Elementary School with a new, much-needed kindergarten classroom and a new Universal Pre-K Classroom. The project description said both classrooms will be offering educational innovations to the youngest learners by using the Reggio Emilia approach to learning and would bring four-year-old students who are being transported to various locations throughout the county back to their home school at TES.

The proposed project includes improvements for a new sprinkler system as well as a safe schools’ entry, which it says will create a secure learning environment for all 338 TES students. The proposed funding for the project would total $1,682,625 of which Upshur County Schools is requesting $882,625 from the School Building Authority and project $800,000 from local funds.

Upshur County Schools Facilities Director Tim Derico said this type of submission to the School Building Authority is a major improvement submission and typically asks for funding up to $1 million. He said this would be an addition to TES on the back, away from the warehouse.

Jeffrey Perkins, Upshur County Schools Treasurer, said the estimate of more than $1.68 million would include a request of $882,625 from the SBA and $800,000 in local funds.

“That is about a 55/45 split of funds,” Perkins said. “Working with the SBA we believe it is a favorable project – the type they are looking for – and by offering that contribution, we are showing our intention to support the program.”

Derico pointed out that there have been additions to TES already.

“The Fire Marshal will require us to sprinkle that building,” Derico said. “The SBA has funded projects at that school – including the piers that were put in the gymnasium to stabilize the foundation and they (the School Building Authority) realize the investment they already have in that facility.”

Kristi Wilkerson made the motion to approve the submission of the proposal to the School Building Authority and the motion received a second from Pat Long. The motion was approved unanimously.

Also, during Tuesday’s Upshur County Board of Education meeting members voted to approve a request for funding from the West Virginia University Cooperative Extension Service and the County Extension Service Committee for funding totaling $21,500. An attachment of the requested funding shows a breakdown of $10,500 as a salary and fringe benefit match for an agent; $5,000 for office supplies; $2,500 for maintenance and repair; and $3,500 for the Shooting Sports Program support.

No one from the WVU Cooperative Extension Service attended Tuesday’s meeting and Perkins said the request was a carbon copy of what they had requested in the past.

“I cannot explain what they use the money for, but the amounts are all the same,” Perkins said.

BOE President Dr. Tammy Samples asked BOE members if they wanted Extension Agent – 4-H Youth Development Craig Presar at a BOE meeting.

“We have approved this (the proposed budget) several times?” Samples asked.

After the motion to accept the funding request by BOE member Dr. Greenbrier Almond and second by BOE member Pat Long, BOE member Kristi Wilkerson said she thought some of the items needed to be reviewed.

“We have other issues we need to deal with,” Wilkerson said. “I think we need to review all of these and all of the support we give our community because our students need things as well. I know 4-H is great – 4-H made me who I am — but I just feel these programs need to be considered.”

The motion to approve the $21,500 in funding was unanimously approved by all BOE members present.

BOE members met in an executive session for approximately 10 minutes regarding a possible service employee discipline. After the executive session was concluded and BOE members were back in regular session, they advised that no action was taken regarding the possible service employee discipline session.

The next regular meeting of the Upshur County BOE is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 5 in the Buckhannon-Upshur High School auditorium.

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