By Jean A. Flanagan
Citing potential conflicts of interest, Hardy County Board of Education member J. Brad Simmons resigned from the board during a special meeting held on Sept. 12.
“Because of the elimination of the RESAs, and the professional development work I do across the state,” Simmons told the Examiner. “If Hardy County entered into a cooperative for professional development, it would eliminate my participation in the cooperative. It would be a conflict of interest.”
According to West Virginia Code §18-5-2, the remaining board members have 45 days to fill the vacancy. If no one is appointed by the local board, the state superintendent of schools will appoint a person to fill the vacancy.
“I have asked each board member to submit two names for consideration,” said BOE President Nancy Hahn.
The board met on Monday, Sept. 25. Following the regular meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss the appointment.
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Melvin Shook, Transportation Supervisor, provided the board with a summary of the school bus inspections for 2013 through 2016. There were no major defects cited in the most recent report.
“I think it’s important to note that 70 percent of our students ride the bus,” Shook said. “Last year we traveled 384,638 miles and used 69,620 gallons of fuel. That’s a lot of miles if you consider the types of roads we have in the county.”
When asked about the condition of the bus fleet, Shook replied, “Our buses are in better shape than ever.”
Shook also said the board should consider the fact that for the last five years the system has hired 12 substitute drivers.
“Last year 7 of those 12 became full time,” he said. “Those subs are very important to the system.”
Shook will be retiring at the end of September and bid a fond farewell to the board.
EHEMS Roof Project
Steve Williams, director of Facilities Management said the roof project at East Hardy Early Middle School was moving according to schedule.
“Of the 61 heat pumps that need to be installed, 44 have been installed,” he said. “Duct work is completed on the grade 7/8 hall, the cafeteria, the gym and the 4th grade hall.”
Williams repeated his approval of the contractor Darnold Mechanical. “They are really good people to work with,” he said.
Hahn said she spoke to the contractors and agreed they were courteous and forthcoming. “They said they were on schedule and maybe a little ahead,” she said.
There was discussion about an alternate to the contract to replace existing lighting with LED lights. LED lights are more expensive, but last longer and provide better light. The alternate to the contract would add another $59,000.
“We’ve had some problems with the ballasts at the high schools,” Board member Dixie Bean said. “We’ve had to replace them two or three times.
That’s more work and expense for our maintenance people.”
The consensus of the board was to not accept the alternate to the contract.
The project is scheduled to be finished in late October.
The board voted to approve the Fiscal Year 2017 Year End Statement. The statement shows a surplus of $172,584, with $90,000 restricted for scholarships and $23,956 assigned. That creates a net surplus of $58,628 in the general fund for the year.
“Last year our expenditures exceeded our revenue by $463,000,” Finance Director Veeta Burgess told the board. “This year our revenue exceeded our expenditures by $264,000. We worked very hard to get to this point.”
According to the Supplemental Schedule of Debt, there is an outstanding debt of $16.9 million on the bonds issued in 2012 for the construction of the two high schools. The bonds mature in 2030. The original issued amount was $21.5 million.
•The board approved Class Size Policy IDFA.
•The board approved Lateral Positions Policy GCF.
•The board approved Beginning Teachers/Administrator Mentor Policy GBDB for first reading.
•Williams reported the Main Street Project received a $50,600 grant from the USDA for raised beds and greenhouse construction. The Hardy County Rural Development Authority has a year to use the funds.
•The board approved Graduation Requirements Policy IDK for first reading.
•The board approved the list of Experiential Learning Sites for the 2017-18 school year.
•The board approved the list of fundraisers for East Hardy Early Middle School, Moorefield Elementary School, Moorefield Intermediate School and Moorefield High School. The list for East Hardy High School was approved at the Sept. 5 meeting.
•The board approved the Moorefield Parent-Teacher Organization.
•The board approved a change in their meeting schedule to reflect changes in the October meetings. The first meeting of the month will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 4 beginning at 3 p.m. at the Central Office.
A tri-county board meeting will follow at 5:30 p.m. at the South Branch Career and Technical Center.
The second regular meeting of the month will be held on Monday, Oct. 23 at the Central Office beginning at 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend all meetings.