The Times West Virginian


March 12, 2014

Some patience will be helpful as new school calendar is set

The forecast is calling for another few inches of snow this evening. We all know what that could mean — a messy morning commute, changes in plans, rescheduling and that call that will inevitably come. School will be cancelled.

We’ve done this all winter long. And though the calendar says the first day of spring is coming next week, we’re all suffering from a little snow shock.

And after 18 cancelled days of instruction time, it caused chaos for the school system, from the Class of 2014 to the Class of 2026.

Add to that changes the Marion County Board of Education must make to the calendar to guarantee that students have 180 days of instruction, no matter what Mother Nature has in store for us, and it causes a lot of frustration.

Parents don’t want their children in school through the month of June. Administrators don’t want to see that happen either.

But they have to meet federal and state guidelines.

“A lot of people are exceptionally nervous about the prospect of having school late into June simply because we had such a bad winter this year,” Marion County Superintendent Gary Price said during a special meeting Monday to discuss changes to the calendar.

“A couple years ago, we only missed two days of school for snow, and I think if we would have been changing to the new calendar rules at that time, people might not have been too concerned.

“But, fresh off a winter where we missed nearly 20 days of school and had some delays, it really hits home to people that this could happen and we could be in school into June.”

A calendar has not been set by a committee yet, which will present two options for school employees to vote on in April. That committee, which consists of parents, teachers, transportation department, central office, a principal and even a high school student or two, will take into consideration state mandates, issues that have surfaced this year, feedback during public meetings and the answers compiled from 3,224 surveys completed by parents and employees.

What may come back is what has been the resounding opinion at forums and from what administrators have told us so far — parents want shorter holiday breaks to keep students from being in school in June.

We don’t know what the calendars proposed to employees will look like, but we feel like it’s taking shape already.

The only thing that we caution people to remember is that last year, there were two snow days; this year there have been 18. It has been a frustrating year for all involved, but it’s entirely possible that next year or the year after will be a milder winter without any need to use holiday and vacation time to make up missed days.

We all have to practice a little patience as we make it through the rest of the year and plan for the next.

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  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

  • Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year

    It’s happening again.
    It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
    But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.

    July 17, 2014

  • County honors men who gave all in helping their community

    The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
    Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
    The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.

    July 16, 2014

  • State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less

    The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
    Let’s not do that again.

    July 15, 2014

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