Make up days discussed

NEW CUMBERLAND – A week since the end of the statewide work stoppage, Hancock County school officials now turn toward deciding how the missed time will be made up.

During Monday’s board of education meeting, Superintendent Tim Woodward addressed the days-off situation – the district will need to make up nine days lost as a result of the walkout when teachers and service personnel sought better pay and health insurance.

Students and teachers returned to class last Wednesday after Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill that approved a 5 percent wage increase for teachers and state employees.

A day later, West Virginia schools Superintendent Steve Paine said it would be up to the 55 county school systems as to how the time will be made up due to the walkout.

One suggestion Woodward discussed Monday was for the system to use “accrued instructional time,” noting by policy, schools are only allowed to utilize five days for this instructional time.

“We’re going to be using some accrued instructional time to allow students to get some breaks to get out of school earlier, but our teachers, it has been made very clear to us, that while everybody supported our teachers, the expectations is that our teachers work their 200 days, or those nine days that may have been affected by that,” Woodward said. “And I haven’t heard one teacher say ‘I don’t want to do that.’ They’re all fine with that.”

Woodward said, instead, they’re looking for a way students would not have to go as long as teachers.

Based on estimations without having actual numbers, Woodward anticipated students would be able to get out of school 2-3 days before teachers.

Assistant Superintendent Dawn Petrovich will be establishing the list of dates, which has not been finalized, he said.

One date mentioned was April 2, the day after Easter which would have served as the final day of Easter break. However, teachers now will be required to report to work that day as a make-up date while students will remain off.

Both students and teachers will be off March 30 in observance of Good Friday. The other affected Easter break day, March 29, was already scheduled as a make-up day due to a cancellation from snow, and not from the work stoppage.

A full list of dates that will serve as make-up days will be compiled, and will be presented at the next board meeting, scheduled 5 p.m. March 26.

In other business:

– Covering personnel matters, the board approved the assignment of Chris Pugh as a non-paid baseball assistant coach for Oak Glen High School.

The board also approved the transfer for New Manchester Elementary custodian Bruce Walker, who will move to Oak Glen High School and serve as an afternoon custodian, effective Wednesday.

The board also accepted the resignation of substitute cook Shelley Delanta-Amos, effective Feb. 28, as she sought other employment.

– The board approved an overnight trip request for 35 Oak Glen Middle School students to visit Camp Fitch in North Springfield, Pa., from May 11-13.

Another field trip that had not appeared on the agenda was also approved by the board. That was for the Key Club to travel to Lakeview Resorts for an annual event.

– A special public meeting will be held 5 p.m. March 19 at the John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center to discuss the 2018-19 school calendar before it is sent to the school board for approval.