The Times West Virginian

January 10, 2014

BOE announces make-up days

Public will soon get voice in school calendar decisions

By Colleen S. Good
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Marion County students may have had fun easing back into school this week, with a six-day weekend due to snow and subzero temperatures, but they’ll have to miss some fun in the sun when they make up those days at the end of the year.

At Thursday’s Marion County Board of Education (BOE) meeting, the make-up days that will be added to the calendar were announced. Additional days of instruction are: May 28, 29, 30, and June 2 and 3. Graduation was also changed from May 30 to May 23. Dates may change in the future, depending on the weather.

Board members also discussed sports and school activities held on snow days.

“Some days when we’re closed, we don’t allow anything. Some days when we’re closed, we do allow practice,” Superintendent Gary L. Price said.

Rev. James Saunders said he appreciated that on days where school was cancelled because of bad weather, students couldn’t be required to attend practice.

Price agreed.

“If you live up the wrong hollow, you may not have been able to get out,” Price said.

Also, the public will soon get a voice in school calendar decisions. The county school system is developing a survey to get public input on when school should begin, how instructional time lost due to inclement weather should be made up, Thanksgiving break, Christmas break and Easter break.

The survey, still being developed, will be made available to the public and will be widely advertised.

Price also said that there could soon be changes to USDA limits to school lunch menu requirements. He expressed frustration at the current requirements, which have very strict caloric limitations.

“It’s really quite a dance because they have the minimum requirements and the maximum requirements so close together that a lot of times it allows no flexibility whatsoever,” Price said.

“So it looks like in the future, they’re going to make additional responses to public input about the amount of calories permitted.”

He said he believed requirements for fat, sugar and whole wheat would likely remain the same.

“Those are all good, healthy decisions, but sometimes the guidelines are just so restrictive that it makes it difficult to make a substitution, for instance, if a particular item doesn’t come in,” Price said.

In other business:

• The principals in Marion County have started holding regular principal meetings, to be held one to two times a month, to facilitate sharing ideas and best practices.

• Fairview Elementary School will be receiving two new rooftop units for heating, at $23,620, planned for installation next week.

• Two students were expelled for one calendar year for violation of the Safe Schools Act.

• The next Marion County BOE meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 6:30 p.m., at the Board of Education Central Office building at 200 Gaston Ave in Fairmont. Meetings are open to the public.

Email Colleen S. Good at cgood@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.