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Attendance Bonus for All Employees, Demolition of Northfork High School and More Discussed at Monday’s Board of Education Meeting, 2/3/20

By Derek Tyson, The Welch News Editor

WELCH, WV – One of the action items awaiting approval from the McDowell County Board of Education at Monday’s meeting was providing the $500 attendance bonus to all employees not included in House Bill 206. 

“Several months ago, Ms. Mullins presented the idea to the board,” said Superintendent Carolyn Falin. “Any employed teacher who misses 4 days or less gets a $500 dollar bonus, so Ms. Mullins approached the Board about that including service personnel instead of just teachers.” 

Board member Mike Mitchem questioned if the funding was available. 

“Yes, (Mullins) calculated what it would be now and knowing it would be less than that as time goes on, Ms. Ketz has already secured the funding to cover that amount,” replied Falin. 

It was approved. 

The next action item was approving a contract for the demolition of Northfork High School. 

Mike Mitchem motioned to approve, seconded by Margaret Beavers, but discussion followed the vote. 

“A Ms. McKinney called me and asked if we could save one of the two classrooms. I know Mike (Callaway) has been through it, would it be possible?”

“You do not want to go inside that building,” said Callaway. “It’s not structurally sound.”

Six year ago, Callaway recalled venturing into the dilapidated structure with former Superintendent Nelson Spencer. 

“When I stepped into the gym, my foot went through the floor,” said Callaway. “That place is just not safe. The State engineers have declared the entire building structurally unsound.”

“The roof decking has continued to deteriorate too,” said Falin. “Since 2016, this demolition has been on the table. We had approved it once before but even the Governor had considered saving it. With the structural analysis, it’s just not feasible.”

“I always like making sure to ask if someone requests it,” said Mitchem. 

Superintendent Carolyn Falin gave her update to the Board, starting with 3rd through 8th graders currently taking the Comprehensive Benchmark Exam. 

“Dr. Barker has been gathering those results, but not all students have finished taking it,” said Falin. “By March 2nd, she’ll be ready to give you a report on the progress the students have made, as well as a plan for addressing those gaps that may be identified on the benchmark assessment.”

Falin said preliminary results showed some students exceed or reach mastery while others fell short. 

“They’ll be making plans to get them ready for the General Summit assessment,” said Falin.

Three Pre-Kindergarten classrooms will be subject to an audit on February 11th and McDowell County Schools hopes to hold two Kindergarten registrations, aiming to reach missed children in the area to compensate for a loss of 144 students. 

“We’re going to do one in the War area and in (the Welch) area, so we’ll have a better feel for how many students to expect for kindergarten next year,” said Falin.