Jackson County Board of Education president resigns, effective April 9

Suzette Lowe
Jackson County Board of Education

The Jackson County Board of Education’s president resigned at the April 1 meeting.

Emotions were evident as Bobbi Ferrell, via phone, spoke of the honor it had been to serve.

Each board member expressed appreciation for Ferrell’s dedication.

“Thank you for all the work you’ve done for the Board of Education and for the entire community,” said Dan Barnette.

Ferrell’s resignation from the board, effective April 9, will create a vacancy for the remainder of her term, which expires on June 30, 2024. The remaining members of the board will have 45 calendar days to appoint an individual residing in the eastern or western magisterial district to the vacant board seat. The northern magisterial district is already represented by two members.

The appointee would serve until June 30, 2022, with the balance of the term to be determined by the results of the May 2022 primary election. Multiple seats for the board of education will be on that ballot.

At its next meeting, board members will discuss the method of appointing Ferrell’s replacement, which could include publishing a notice in the newspaper requesting letter of interest.

Jim Frazier was elected to serve as board president, with Barnette chosen as vice-president.

The board acted on a personnel item carried forward from its March 18 meeting.

After adjourning from a 15-minute closed-door executive session, the board voted to uphold the suspension without pay from March 9-22 of a Cottageville Elementary teacher. The vote was 4-1, with Barnette voting against.

COVID-19 continued to be a topic of discussion.

Superintendent of Schools Blaine Hess reported that, at last report, there were 10 active cases in the school system. These included six at Ravenswood Middle, three at Ravenswood High and one at Henry J. Kiser.

Due to contact tracing by the Jackson County Health Department, Ravenswood High conducted remote learning on March 2 but was expected to be open the following day.

A website survey regarding interest in COVID-19 vaccination for students 16 and older, along with any family members, garnered 63 requests. A local provider will conduct the vaccination clinic with plans for it to be on a Saturday.

Project Graduation at both Ripley and Ravenswood High Schools received an increase in funding from the board. The events, which offer graduating seniors a safe post-graduation party, will receive $1,000 each, an increase of $250.

Hess said that both high schools will be hosting prom this year.

“With guidance and approval of the health department, Ravenswood prom will be April 17 and Ripley on May 15,” he said.

In other business, board members Steve Chancey, Ben Mize, Ferrell, Barnette and Frazier:

  • Approved contract for Partners Too Inc., dba Stanley Steemer, for $15,935 to clean and sanitize HVACs; Wright Co. Electric LLC, for $11,722 for restroom renovation at Ripley High School technology education shop; Murray Sheet Metal Company Inc., for all equipment, materials and labor to perform HVAC work at Ripley Middle library and Ripley High office for $24,486; and Steers Heating & Cooling Inc., for labor and materials for the HVAC installation for $75,898 at Ravenswood and Ripley High’s tech ed and agriculture mechanic shops.
  • Approved the extension of the COVID leave program through June 30.
  • Approved 2021 summer school programs.
  • Approved out-of-state school trips for Ravenswood Middle for PBS Reward Trip, Columbus Zoo and Ripley High softball team to Meigs County, Ohio.

Personnel

Retirements: Tracy LeMasters, director of federal programs, effective July 13; Rose Poe, head custodian Ripley Elementary and general maintenance/mower summer maintenance, effective July 1.

Resignations: Monica Cossin, curriculum developer component 2; Jessica Cox, Ripley Middle yearbook advisor; Mancy McCoy, assistant girls soccer varsity coach, Ravenswood High; and Helen Fisher, substitute bus operator.

Employments: Jason Knopp, social studies teacher, Ravenswood High, half-time; Kristie Carr, Route 55 bus operator; Jessica Beckham and Kyra Goff, substitute teachers; and Thomas Wolfe, assistant baseball coach, Ravenswood Middle.

Other: Infant bonding leave of absence, Crystal Wilson, special education aide Ripley Elementary from April 26 through end of school term; Emily Crites, teacher, Fairplain Elementary, from April 29 through end of school term; Dani Hupp, teacher, HJK, change in effective date from March 29-April 7; and establishment of positions of summer school administrator (up to two positions), 20 positions for elementary and 9 positions for secondary.

The next board of education meeting will be a special session to vote on excess levy rates on Tuesday, April 20, at 7 p.m., followed immediately by a regular session at the administration building.