By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Tucker County Schools Superintendent Alicia Lambert had several employment recommendations to offer at the most recent Tucker County Board of Education meeting. Among those were the following: Thomas Evans, volunteer head middle school baseball coach at TVEMS and Davis Thomas Elementary Middle School, Carmon DiBacco, volunteer assistant middle school baseball coach at TVEMS/DTEMS, Christine O’Brien after-school elementary math teacher at DTEMS, Lori Mullenax and Melinda Waybright, after school elementary math teacher at TVEMS, Holly Hinkle after school elementary and middle school reading teacher at DTEMS, Kelly Reed after school elementary reading teacher at TVEMS, Stephanie Hood after school middle school math teacher at DTEMS, Kim Welsh after school middle school math teacher at TVEMS, Teresa Brusak after-school middle school reading teacher at TVEMS, Rachel Ball after-school bus operator for TCHS/DTEMS, and Harry Poling for after school bus operator at TCHS/TVEMS. All voted in favor of the Superintendents recommendations. The after-school programs will begin being offered to students on March 8, 2021.
Moving through personnel, she recommended accepting the retirement of Teresa Brusak as the Tucker Valley Elementary Middle School Academic Coach, effective August 9, 2021. Board Member Cathy Hebb made a motion of approval with Vice President Daniel “Chopper” Evans offering a second with all in favor.
Under employment, Lambert recommended hiring Kim Sovine as a substitute teacher for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, and Carole Keplinger as a substitute cook and substitute aide, also for the remainder of the year. Hebb and Evans made the motion of approval with all in agreement.
The High School decided on what after-school positions it was most in need of, leading Lambert into requesting the creation of the following positions: one after-school math teacher, English language arts teacher, science teacher, and social studies teacher for a total of four positions. Hebb and Evans made the motion with all voting in favor.
Before moving into the policies portion of the agenda, Lambert explained that when a new policy is drafted and proposed, three readings are performed prior to passing into effect. With no policy requiring the three readings, Lambert stated that a lot of the updates within the policies are minor or changing just a few words, and suggested the Board decide if they wanted all policies to require three readings. Hebb responded that if the changes are minor and evident, she has no issue with approving the changes with a single vote, however lengthy changes or new policies still offer three readings. Board Member Jessica Wamsley agreed with Hebb’s statement. “As long as it’s evident what the update specifically is,” she said.
The first reading was then offered for Policy 2266, Non-discrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities. This reading did not require a vote, and this policy is federally mandated. Turner asked for a motion to approve the update to Policy 2260, Non-discrimination and Access to Equal Education Opportunity. Wamsley and Hebb provided the motions with all voting in favor.
Policy 3242.01, Tuition Reimbursement also presented some updates that were approved unanimously before the recommendation to repeal Policy 3120.01, Highly Qualified Teachers was offered. Hebb asked why this policy was being omitted and Lambert explained that the State Department of Education has done away with it, though there have not been any changes made to the hiring requirements of teachers. The Board voted in favor of the repeal unanimously.
For the first time in quite some time, there was very little to offer in terms of a Covid-19 update. At the time of the meeting, there were only six active cases countywide and the schools have been back in session, full time, for two weeks (excluding snow days).
Kelly Thompson, Principal at TVEMS, submitted a request to the Board to alter their re-entry plan. Until the meeting, students had been staying in their respected classrooms with special teachers coming to them for those classes. The request for revision was to allow students to go to their special classrooms for those classes moving forward. Evans and Wamsley made the motion to approve the request with all in favor.
Lambert recommended that Tucker County Schools allow students to return to school under the same CDC guidelines that the staff is currently following that apply to those who come into contact with Covid-19 but do not test positive. That option would allow students to return to school after 10 days of quarantine with zero symptoms or after seven days of quarantine and a negative test result, not to be taken prior to the fifth day of the quarantine, which the result must be provided to the county office prior to return. Lambert spoke with James Snyder with the Tucker County Health Department on the matter, where he stated their protocol of 14 days would remain the same, and if a student presented positive, they too would have to follow the 14-day rule. Evans made a motion to approve the recommendation with Wamsley offering a second and the motion passed unanimously.
April Miller and Sandra Bohon with the Family Resource Network were present to request permission to place a Blessing Box on the BOE property. The City of Parsons Contacted the FRN with the desire to construct two Blessing Boxes within the city limits, one being at the Hinkle House that will be stocked with food items and one near the FRN that will offer personal hygiene items, diapers, and other similar products. Bohon showed a photo of what the boxes would resemble and told the Board that the bible verses would not be included since they would be placed on school property. “It would be available 24/7,” said Miller. Bohon added, “If somebody didn’t feel comfortable calling us if they were in need, they could just come and get it.” The public can donate to these boxes as well and should contact either the Hinkle House or the FRN to determine what items are needed at that time. After a brief discussion, Hebb and Evans moved to allow the Blessing Box to be placed on the property with all in favor.
This concluded the business for the TCBOE which will meet again on Monday, March 15 at 4:30 p.m. at the Tucker County BOE Office.