Revision to the current school year’s calendar was the main topic of discussion at the Feb. 20 meeting of the Jackson County Board of Education.

Board members Bobbi Ferrell, Jim Frazier, Ben Mize, and Steve Chancey ultimately accepted the proposed calendar presented by Superintendent Blaine Hess, but not without questions being raised. Member Dan Barnette was not present.

Outside school environment (OS) days, previously scheduled for each Friday in March, were changed to instructional days. The last day for students would be June 1 with the last day for teachers being June 9.

“These OS days are the ones most used for makeup days for snow closings,” Hess explained. “But since we’ve had such a mild winter, we can now change those Fridays to instructional days. This gives more time to prepare for testing.”

West Virginia State Code 18-5-45 requires six OS days, four of which must be scheduled after the one-hundred-thirtieth instructional day. The approved revised calendar moves those four days to the end of the year. Because the school year cannot end with an OS day, and to fulfill the 200-day school calendar requirement, the two last days were converted to a continuing education day and a preparation day to allow teachers to close their classrooms.

Board members indicated they had heard discontent from some staff with having to come back to work after being off four days.

Ferrell suggested that, if there are no more snow days, the OS days could be moved to spring break and the last days be arranged so that the 200 days could be fulfilled without staff having to come back after a break.

It was agreed that the calendar could be reviewed again after there was little danger of additional snow days. This would give more time for investigation of potential payroll issues with other plans.

The board also reviewed the sixth-month average daily attendance data. The school with the highest attendance was Cottageville at 95.22 percent with the lowest being Gilmore at 86.49 percent.

“You can see the impact of the flu on attendance,” Hess said. “But surprisingly, overall we are slightly ahead of where we were this time last year.”

Average daily attendance for 2019-20 is 93.41 percent as compared to 2018-19 at 93.17 percent.

In other matters:

• A request from Leanna Amos for her children, Dillon Workman and Colton Amos, to attend Wirt County schools rather than Jackson County for the 2019-20 school year was approved.

• Revised Policy 2280 preschool program, Policy 3131.05 defining qualifications for professional personnel, revised Policy 3242 professional learning for educators, revised Policy 4162 drug and alcohol testing of CDL license holders; revised policy 5111 eligibility of resident/nonresident students for enrollment; revised Policy 5112 entrance requirements; revised Policy 7530.01 staff use of cell phones were all approved.

• Ravenswood Middle School’s request for a trip to Dogwood Pass in Beaver, Ohio was approved.

• A second reading of revised Policy 1540 termination of administrative contracts and revised Policy 6605 crowdfunding was had.

• The Board approved miscellaneous items including a 2000 Ford Taurus and 2002 GMC van as surplus property for inclusion in the county auction

In personnel matters:

Transfers: Ashley Casto from Custodian III, Ripley Middle School to temporary Custodian IV, Ravenswood Middle School until the return of the regular employee or the status of the job changes, effective Feb. 21, 2020.

Employments: Jeffrey Weiss, itinerant teacher physical education, countywide, effective Feb. 21, 2020; Donna Leaptrot, parent coordinator Kenna Elementary effective for the 2019-20 school term, not to exceed 50 hours for the year; Karen Barnette, Deanna Cunningham, Christina Phillips, Krista Baker, Shalena Settle, Kim Herron, Kristabelle Collins, Jessie Thompson, Rose Casto, Sally Laine, Julie Boggess, Robin Chancey, Liz Cecil, Bonnie Pate, Heidi Horvath, Hilary Groves, Scott Ullom, Candise Anderson, Sunny Enoch, Susan Curry as parent trainers, Title I program, Kenna Elementary on as needed basis at the rate of $25/hour effective for the 2019-20 school term; Gayle Thompson, substitute counselor, on as needed basis effective for the 2019-20 school term; John F. Cummings III, assistant baseball coach, Ripley High, effective for the 2019-20 school term; Brittany Stephens, assistant softball coach, Ravenswood High, effective for the 2019-20 school term; Stephen W. Baldwin, assistant softball coach, Ripley High, effective for the 2019-20 school term; Michael Cummings, assistant varsity football coach, Ripley High, effective for the 2020-21 school term; Victoria Crise, assistant boys track coach, Ripley High, effective for the 2019-20 school term.

Retirements: Janet Noble, teacher kindergarten Evans Elementary, effective July 1, 2020; Lola Smith, art teacher and yearbook advisor Ravenswood Middle, effective July 1, 2020; Anne-Marie Claypool, teacher’s aide Ripley Middle effective Feb. 14, 2020; Michael Cummings, assistant JV football coach Ripley High, effective Feb. 17, 2020.

Other: Matthew Howery, authorized certified coach softball Ripley Middle, effective for the 2019-20 school term; Established a position of elementary alternative education counselor.

At the end of a closed-door executive session regarding a personnel and student matter, the board adjourned with no action taken.

At the end of a closed-door executive session on Feb. 17, the board approved the expulsion of a student for one year from the date of the decision.

The next regular meeting of the Board of Education will be at 7 p.m. on March 5 in the administrative office building.