The Times West Virginian

November 5, 2013

BOE OKs dismissal of school custodian

Marcus Lewis remains in jail following charges of homicide of an infant

By Kaylyn Christopher
Times West Virginian

MONONGAH — A custodian has been dismissed from his position at Monongah Elementary School following charges of first-degree homicide of an infant.

At Monday night’s Marion County Board of Education meeting, board members voted unanimously to terminate the employment of Marcus Lewis due to his arrest for a violent crime.

“According to our attorney, this is the right way to handle this even though he hasn’t been convicted,” BOE president the Rev. James Saunders said. “Our legal advice is that this is the best way to approach it.”

Lewis, 54, of Carolina, was arrested Oct. 18 in Marion County and has been charged with “murder of a child by refusal/failure to supply necessities” in the death of his biological child, a 2 1/2-month-old male infant on Oct. 13.

Lewis is incarcerated at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail without bond.

Monday’s meeting was held at Monongah Elementary School. To open the meeting, the board recognized Monongah Middle School for its recent distinction as a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School.

“Education is about having leadership and professional personnel that care and go beyond the call of duty, and Monongah, you did,” Saunders said.

The board also approved the allocation of $3,500 for the completion of Rivesville Elementary and Middle School’s canopy project.

“They did such a nice job with the first section of the canopy and now they’ve acquired funds to pay for most of the second section of the canopy,” Superintendent of Schools Gary Price said.

The total cost of the project is $18,500, of which $15,000 is being provided by the state Legislature. The BOE’s contribution will complete the funding for the project.

In other business:

• The board voted to grant the Fairmont-Morgantown Housing Authority an option agreement to purchase the Miller School under the same conditions and terms as offered to the Housing Development Corp. Price said the Housing Development Corp. will still be involved, but the Fairmont-Morgantown Housing Authority will take the lead.

“The reason why we have leaned so much toward a group like that is their funding is substantially established and we don’t want to end up with an eyesore in the community,” Price said. “We want someone to take the building who we have faith in their financial ability to follow through with their plans.”

Price said the authority has first option on the property until Dec. 31, 2014.

• Bus driver Scott Taylor was suspended without pay for three days for failure to report to work or call for a substitute on Monday, Oct. 28.

• A student was expelled for one calendar year for violation of the Safe Schools Act.

• The board approved the purchase of a mobile computer lab for the Marion County Technical Center. The funding for the lab comes from a $20,000 grant the MCTC received from the Simulated Workplace Pilot Program.

There will be a Local School Improvement Council meeting at 6 p.m. today at Fairmont Senior High School.

Email Kaylyn Christopher at kchristopher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @KChristopherTWV.