PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Schools Board of Education held its regular meeting Tuesday at the Wood County Schools Central Office at 1210 13th St. in Parkersburg.
The board presented Dennie and Sherry Huggins, of Williamstown, with a certificate of recognition for outstanding supporters of Wood County Schools. The Huggins have generously allowed the Williamstown Middle/High School soccer team to utilize their field since 2008.
“On behalf of the board we can’t thank the two of you enough,” Board President Justin Raber said. “It truly is community members like yourselves that really allow Wood County Schools to flourish and provide the best opportunities to all of our students.”
“The citizens of Williamstown did a tremendous amount of work out there when they started this,” Dennie Huggins said. “We love to do this for the kids.”
“Williamstown should adopt a new motto: ‘We play for state championships,’” Kennith Cook, director of secondary education, said before handing out certificates of recognition to the Williamstown High School Volleyball team for winning their second straight Class A state volleyball championship.
The team beat the Buffalo Bison at the Charleston Coliseum on Nov. 10 to secure their back-to-back state titles. The team consist of Soraya Brown, Meredith Chambers, Lauren Deem, Kamryn Haynes, Keatyn Haynes, Gabi Holl, Georgie Inman, Kyndra Johnson, Addisyn Kerby, Kiersten Kerby, Riley Landis, Shayle Montgomery, Annabelle Sandy, Becca Shamblin, Avie Sprouse, Kylie Sprouse, Riah Sprouse, Claire Strobl and Payton Woodard. The head coach is Rachelle Cole with assistant coaches Alison Sexton, BreeAnn Reynolds and Jeremy Woodard.
The board heard presentations by Michael Erb, communications coordinator, on the upcoming Inclement Weather Communication Plan and by Melanie Cutright, Coordinator of Early Learning, about updates on the Early Learning program.
Erb said the Inclement Weather Communication Plan is based on a county-wide assessment of conditions.
They said while weather might not be bad in one area, it could affect driving conditions in another. If there were indications of inclement weather approaching, four drivers would be sent out at 3:30 am to drive the roads and assess conditions. They said they would not only check main roads but any roads buses might travel on. Erb said this information would then be handed to the superintendent by 5 am to make a decision. They said this wasn’t just for snow, either.
“This is for any kind of inclement weather, any kind of weather emergency” Erb said. “We have had times of flooding, and high winds, things like that that may have made it unsafe, or impossible to have school. So while we talk a lot about snow days this is for any sort of related emergency delay or closure.”
Erb said closing schools, or remaining open, isn’t a decision taken lightly.
“I gotta go back to my three main points,” Erb said. “We’re a county school system. So, we close the county or we keep the county open, we can’t do it piecemeal. The second part is we will always err on the side of safety for the students and the staff. And the third part is, somebody is always not going to agree. But we’re going to try to do the best we can.”
During the consent agenda the board approved financial transactions, an approval of purchase orders for B Armstrong as needed for access control maintenance and repairs, fire alarm repairs, school crossing light repairs and other related safety repairs, an out of town trip for the Parkersburg High School speech/debate team to travel to Western Kentucky University for a tournament, a Certificate of Substantial Completion for the PHS stack demo and boiler replacement, a memorandum of understanding with Westbrook Health Services to provide mental health support services to students of Blennerhassett, Hamilton and Jackson Middle Schools, and PHS, to match grant funds obtained for this purpose. The board will provide $10,000 as a match for each school.
The board also approved a purchase order increase for the Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library (PWCPL) and the Vienna Public Library (VPL) for the 2023 fiscal year for additional funds collected from the 2022 tax assessment of $5,405 for the PWCPL, and $499.54 for the VPL. The revised estimated total for the PWCPL will be $452,064, and for the VPL it will be $69,185.54. Final amounts for the year may vary based on actual collections.
The consent agenda was approved by the board with a 4-1 vote. Board member Debbie Hendershot voted against it.
During the regular agenda the board unanimously approved the school calendar for the 2023-2024 school year.
During public comment Sean Keefe addressed the board about his continuing concern over content in the public library and the support the school system gives them.
The board wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving during board comments and wished Williamstown High School and Parkersburg South High School football teams good luck on their upcoming tournament.
The next meeting of the Wood County Board of Education will be Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 6 pm at the Central Office at 1210 13th St. The meeting is open to the public and will be livestreamed.