The Times West Virginian

February 13, 2014

Making up lost time focus for BOE

Special meeting on academic calendar for next year set Monday

By Chelsi Baker
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — With more inclement weather in the forecast, much of the Marion County Board of Education’s discussion Wednesday focused on how to make up lost time from snow days.

The central office has given teachers and principals the ability to eliminate meetings or other activities in order to get some time back if they don’t think such things are necessary to the operation of schools or the students.

Superintendent of Schools Gary Price also has taken the remaining two-hour early dismissals out of the schedule.

“They’re very unpopular, anyway,” he said.

The board also raised a question on how to handle field trips scheduled for this year after the snow days.

Price asked principals to reevaluate any field trips to assess whether the trip is directly tied to the curriculum and is beneficial to students’ learning and to eliminate any trips that could take up more time in the classroom.

The academic calendar for next year is still up for discussion, and the board will hold a special meeting open for public input at 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17 at North Marion High School.

“We just think it’s important for people to voice their opinion,” he said. “We would love to see them there in person so that they can ask questions. If they are not able to come in person, then we certainly hope they will take advantage of the opportunity to complete a survey.”

Price is pleased with the number of online surveys parents and members of the community have completed so far to give input on dates, including the first and last day of school and holiday breaks.

In just 10 days, 2,500 surveys have been completed.

Price told the board the feedback has been consistent in terms of what people would like to see in the calendar, so he feels they will be able to address the public’s needs when finalizing next year’s schedule.

Along with the calendar, the central office itself will be making some changes in the near future that will better serve Marion County.

The board is currently looking at properties that could be the new central office location. Locations are being checked over by an architect and engineer to asses what type of investment it would take to make the structure meet their needs.

Price said the building has served them well over the years, but it requires some repairs he feels would not be a wise investment.

The multilevel building has also made it difficult for handicapped employees and visitors to get where they need to go, he said.

“We’re looking for a place that’s on one level, a little bit more user friendly and maybe a little bit more modern in construction so that it would not be as difficult to stay up with the utilities and the upkeep of it,” said Price.

Also at the meeting:

• The board made the final approval on many policy changes that will be implemented to keep up with national code. Marion County pays NEOLA Inc. to review the entire policy manual every six months to make changes based on laws or policies that have changed on a national level to keep the manual up to date.

• The board approved a memorandum of understanding signed between the Marion County Board of Education and the North Central West Virginia Community Action Association Inc. This forms an agreement between Marion County Schools, private daycares and Head Start programs focusing on issues including transportation, any services they provide to one another and budget issues for the current school year.

Email Chelsi Baker at or follow her on Twitter @cbakerTWV.