POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Board of Education discussed the wastewater treatment plants and personnel updates during its regular business meeting on Tuesday evening.
All Board members — President Jared Billings, Vice President Meagan Bonecutter, Rhonda Tennant, Ashley Cossin and Dale Shobe — were present during the meeting.
During the meeting, board members heard from Brenda Adkins, a fourth grade teacher at Point Pleasant Intermediate School, about Policy 3131 “Reduction in Force-Classroom Teachers and Other Professional Personnel.” Qualifications for positions is under this policy. Adkins said her initial understanding of the policy was to change seniority as a qualification to “most qualified.” Adkins said she and others were concerned about this change becoming a risk for some people or “a game of survivor.”
Superintendent Jack Cullen said the state code changed last year. Each county board of education can choose their own qualifications. According to Cullen and Tonya Martin, personnel director, Mason County chose to use certifications and seniority as their qualifications. This decision was made on Dec. 10, 2019 under policy 3131.05.
The board held the final open discussion for the 2020-21 school calendar. The board received one more written comment during the meeting. Cullen said the public meeting for the calendar is set for Feb. 25 at 4 p.m. at the board of education office. The board will make three calendars to take to the schools for the vote.
Cullen gave an update on the wastewater treatment plants at Beale, Ashton and Roosevelt elementary schools. Cullen said the plants are not doing what they are supposed to be doing and they are pumping the waste out of the holding tanks a couple times per week. Cullen said the container type of plants they put in have been used in other situations, such as with the military, and they worked fine, but the issue is with the school setting, according to the engineer. Cullen said he was told that the best option for the long run was to completely replace the plants with a new type. When the board chose to put in the plants, they were told they had a 50-year guarantee. The board discussed more on the issue during an executive session under “property.” Cullen said he received a letter from an attorney that he would discuss with the board.
Martin updated the board on positions throughout the county. According to Martin, last year the board had to make several cuts. Martin said this year is “as good as it gets.” Of all the positions cut last year, there are only six aides that have not been placed back into a position. Martin said they are over 35 or 36 service personnel over what the state has set, but Martin said they are necessary to meet the Individualized Education Programs (IEP) requirements. The district is less than one professional personnel over the limit. Martin said the district is not looking at cutting positions, but is hoping to add four.
Read more about the Mason County School Board of Education meeting in upcoming editions of the Point Pleasant Register.
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Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.