By Kaylyn Christopher
Times West Virginian
At Monday’s meeting, the Marion County Board of Education voted to change the date of high school graduation from May 30, 2014, to May 23, 2014.
Superintendent Gary Price acknowledged that date may conflict with some spring sport schedules, but the board voted unanimously to approve the change.
“Regardless of which weekend you pick in the spring, there are regional and state competitions going on in some sport,” Price said.
Board president the Rev. James Saunders said it was the board’s hope that the majority of graduating high school seniors in the county will be able to attend the graduation ceremony.
“Everyone in this room wants to see every kid have the opportunity to walk across and get his diploma,” Saunders said.
Also at the meeting, Nancy Facemire and Brenda Giannis, co-presidents of the Marion County Education Association, presented information about the Competitive Pay campaign to the board.
Facemire said the campaign was launched Sept. 23 to push the governor and lawmakers to focus on raising salaries for teachers and support personnel in West Virginia.
According to statistics from the National Education Association, West Virginia currently ranks 48th in the country when it comes to average salaries. The average salary for a teacher in West Virginia is $45,453.
Giannis asked the board members to support the Competitive Pay campaign.
“We need your assistance in voicing our concerns to our elected leaders,” Giannis said. “We are asking the Marion County Board of Education to sign a resolution of support for our Competitive Pay campaign.”
Saunders said the item would be placed on the agenda for the Dec. 2 board meeting.
In other business:
• The board approved a memorandum of understanding between the West Virginia Department of Education, Regional Education Service Agencies and County Boards of Education in response to Focus Designated Schools from 2013-17. East Fairmont Junior High School has been designated as a focus school in Marion County, which means there is a large gap in achievement between the school’s subgroups.
“We know we’re called a focus school, but we decided we’re going to call ourselves a success school with a focus,” EFJHS principal Christine Miller said. “We cannot look at this as something that is negative. We need to look at what those issues are and apply positive measures to those things and make those go away.”
• Gabe Devono, RESA VII executive director, updated the board about RESA VII’s latest projects and initiatives.
• The board voted to reappoint Michael Cimaglia as commissioner on the Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission.
• Three substitute bus drivers had their employment terminated due to failure to participate and/or complete training.
• A volunteer coach’s employment was terminated for failure to complete coaching requirements.
• Three students were expelled for one calendar year, each for violating the Safe Schools Act.
Email Kaylyn Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @KChristopherTWV.