Approximately 50 people were present at Monday’s Calhoun County school board meeting in the CM/HS
The board addressed a lengthy and varied agenda
involving facilities usage, budgetary concerns, athletic concerns, and
High school varsity basketball coach Danny Bunch
expressed his concerns over the current gymnasium usage policy that
prohibits practice for all sports teams after : “That’s five to six hours less (per week) than
anybody we compete against. We are at a huge disadvantage. We’re not in
shape, which makes us susceptible to injuries. I hope nobody gets hurt.”
“It seems right now as though these kids are
getting the shaft. This county has put these kids in this situation. It
burns me up. It’s not fair,” said Bunch.
He stated that a user’s rate should have been
established by now: “We should have a rate by now of how much it will
cost to keep my kids in the gym. You guys should have figured that out
by now. I don’t care if it’s $50 or $60; I should have an option.”
He told the board that two people have already
offered to pay up to $150 for the team to go to
State to practice.
The board also heard from Paul Parsons, middle
school assistant coach, who said that middle school students are bused
at to both elementary schools,
where they must share a gymnasium that is too small to adequately
accommodate more than one team: “We share with 20 to 30 other students.
We actually warm up in the hallways while avoiding little kids.”
He added that, with preparation time before and
after, athletes are allotted 45 minutes true practice time: “It’s not
about quantity, but quality of practice, but you can only get so much in
in 45 minutes.”
Parsons presented a utility cost breakdown that
showed electrical cost for the entire school as $75.25 per hour: “It
would cost us $9.11 per day for three hours use of the gym. If you let
us back into the middle school gym and allow us to pay, that total would
be $182.20 per month, based upon 20 days.”
“What I want to point out is what has been tabled
is total fees, custodian services included, three hours minimum comes to
$390 to rent both gyms and pay the utilities and custodians,” said
Parsons. “If it’s tabled, we can go back and change that rate. The new
fees given us are $20 per hour each gym and $10 per hour for the
wrestling room, but the rates that we get are higher than we can
Parsons suggested a variety of means by which costs
could be reduced. Changing lights in the gyms would save on energy costs
all day, not just during practice. He also said that parents driving
athletes to games could save approximately $6,300.
“If people of this community know what it is you’re
asking for and what it’s going for, they’re willing to give money up for
it. When times are difficult, Calhoun folks always step up and take care
of it,” said Parsons.
Woodward recommended that the facilities use policy
be accepted as written, with the fee structure to go into committee. In
the meantime, extra-curricular groups will be permitted to use the
facilities and schedule the times they need. The fees will be
Woodward said that usage times for facilities must
be made with the building administrator or the athletic director for as
much reasonable time as needed to meet for practice. Once the board
reaches a final consensus on what the fee structure will be, then he
will ask, on a trust basis, that the fee be paid retroactively.
Organizations not sponsored by the school, such as
4-H, etc., may apply and receive waivers to obtain access to the
facilities. Waivers will not be required from any school-sponsored
group, such as teams, band, choir, FFA,
Teams that now must vacate the athletic facilities
by will now be able to stay later
for a fee.
Sugar Cane Project
High school FFA
adviser and Vo-Ag teacher Donald Poage, high school student Jenny
Woodward, Little Kanawha District conservation supervisor Roger Collins,
and West Fork Community Action president Harold Carpenter appeared as a
delegation to request land adjacent to the board office and bus garage,
directly behind the bus parking area, for a sugar cane project and
A blueprint design, created by Poage’s students and
illustrating where and how the land will be utilized to produce sugar
cane, was presented.
The cane will be used to support the Molasses
Festival which, according to Collins, has not had sorghum, necessary for
molasses production, for the past few years.
Poage reported that there are some drainage
problems on the property and his group has worked with Collins on that
matter. He also said that they have had some contact with extension
agent Daisy Bailey, and had soil tests, which his class will evaluate on
Thursday, run through the WVU lab.
The group intends to make the project a success by
working with people inside the school, local farmers, soil conservation
district, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and others. Students
have done research on sugar cane and its benefits.
“We, as a group, are trying to come up with some
community actions that are positive in nature. This will be a unique
learning experience for our kids,” said Poage. “With our curriculum, we
can have three or four classes involved in this project.
Collins, after presenting Carpenter with a check
for $1,000 on behalf of the Resource Conservation and Development board,
told board members that he and his group will continue to lend various
aid and support to the project.
Carpenter said there had been little to no cane
grown in the area for the past few years: “I think this is a win/win
situation for the kids at the school and for the community.”
Proceeds from the cane will be divided “between Arnoldsburg (Community) Park and the kids.”
Board approval was granted.
Supervisor of support services Marlan Zwoll shared
estimates he had received for demolition of the older sections of the
old Arnoldsburg school building: “We’re looking at six figures, roughly
around $225,000 to demolish part of that building.”
He added that parts of the estimate are
“negotiable,” as there are sections of the demolition that can be done
“in-house,” and the estimate is based upon an hourly rate.
Zwoll said that one entity interested in moving
into the building had some information on grants to help with demolition
Extension office, the
county health department and “Save the Children” organization, who would
use the facility primarily for storage, are exploring moving into the
Woodward said, “The concern is that none of these
three agencies in and unto themselves has the funding to fix and sustain
the building for maximum use; however, what we hope is to facilitate or
have someone in the community facilitate a meeting between those three
agencies, so that, between the three of them, they can make that
property valuable and useful to the community and, at the same time,
lift the burden of expenses it’s creating on our budget right now.”
Zwoll said that Extension agent Jamie Mullins is in
pursuit of funding sources for the project.
Woodward presented a PowerPoint presentation of his
proposed three-year plan for reducing the deficit (see accompanying
story). He said the primary focus when developing the plan was:
--Increasing student achievement.
--Making reasonable progress to reduce the debt
within three years.
--Maintaining student/teacher ratios.
--Protecting extra-curricular programs (band,
choir, athletics, CTE).
--Looking internally and externally at utilizing
all available resources effectively (custodial supplies, utilities,
transportation expenses, professional development, substitute costs,
Fund 11 unrestricted county funds).
Laptops For All
Woodward advised the board that, with enhanced
education applications on the Internet, state superintendent of schools
Michael Martirano intends to transform the state into textbook free
The plan calls for every student to have a laptop
to take home. Woodward said that Martirano plans to divert all
accessible monies to the plan. He said that rural superintendents have
tried to make him understand that there is a huge difference between
Internet access in the part of West Virginia he is
familiar with, Jefferson and Berkeley counties, and some of the more
Woodward said, “Arnoldsburg Elementary met both
student performance and growth expectations and earned a ‘Success School’
designation, the highest designation a school can receive.”
He also reported that both of the counties others
schools Pleasant Hill and CM/HS
were designated “transitional schools,” the second highest designation.
Woodward reported that Calhoun schools ranked 11th
in the state according to
www.schooldigger.com, an instrument sponsored by both the national
and state departments of education that is not so much an indicator of
actual attained student proficiency or overall school academic ranking,
as it is the degree of growth that has occurred within schools from year
--Board members entered into an executive session
at to review a student expulsion
and returned to regular session at , with no action taken.
--The board entered into another executive session
at to discuss employee discipline
and returned to regular session at , with termination of a school employee.
--Approved the following new business:
Volunteers, Mercy Roberts, Rebecca Frederick,
Heather Little, Rebecca Wilson, CM/HS; Christina Perkins,
AES; Brandon Tingler, PHS.
Student transfer, parents Arnold and Lisa Banfield,
9th grader, Calhoun to Wirt.
Home school, parent Shelly Stewart, 2nd and 6th
graders; parent Donna Richards, 9th and 10th graders.
Contract, audiology services, George Evans.
--Personnel items approved included the following:
Employment, professional, Brian Massie, long-term
substitute art/social studies teacher, CM/HS.
Substitute teachers, Shirley Chenoweth, Patty
Mangus, Anthony Richards.
Service, Charles O’Neal, substitute bus operator;
Kenneth McCumbers, substitute custodian.
Resignation, extra-curricular, Krystina Mistyhn,
softball coach; service, John Simers, substitute custodian.
The next regular meeting of the board will be on
Monday, Jan. 12, ,
at Pleasant Hill School, with the Local School Improvement