POINT PLEASANT — During the recent Mason County Board of Education meeting, board members heard an update from the superintendent and discussed agenda items.
Board members present were Dale Shobe, Rhonda Tennant, Jared Billings, Meagan Bonecutter and Ashley Cossin.
Cossin pulled agenda item 7.24, “recommend the Board approve Policy #5600- Student Discipline.”
“I just wanted to pull this to discuss,” Cossin said. “This past week, a couple of teachers and a social worker from our county, who asked me to sit down with them before this was pushed through.”
Cossin gave a small overview of the meeting, which reviewed Dr. Ross Greene’s Collaborative and Proactive Solutions model.
“I had heard of it, and I’ve been doing a little reading on it since then,” Cossin said. “It’s more about being proactive versus reactive. There are just some parts within our policy that really aren’t defined, such as, like if we look under interventions and consequences, number one says, ‘administrator/student conference or reprimand,’ but reprimand isn’t defined.”
Cossin said she was “thrilled” to sit with the educators and learn about the model, citing it was about two and a half hours.
Cossin said the current generation is different from when she was in school or even just 10 years ago.
“We focus a lot on mental health,” Cossin said. “Trying to focus and put a lot more effort towards the mental health pursuits will ultimately it makes the education process better and less disruptions.”
Cossin said she would like for the board to look further into the collaborative, citing the educators offered to meet with the entire board to go over what was went over with her.
“Once I heard what they had to say, I really liked it,” Cossin said. “Especially considering the number of our kids who have dealt with some sort of trauma.”
Cossin also said that the model allows one to get more to the root of the problem and allows teaching why the issue is wrong without automatically punishing, overall teaching students to process dealing with the solution.
“I think it would be a good idea for the board to hear what they have to say,” Superintendent Keith Burdette said. “Question is going to be how much leeway you have in the policy because this is basically pulled from state policy.”
After a brief discussion, Cossin made a motion to table agenda item 7.24 and bring it back at another date to discuss. Tennant seconded the motion and it was approved.
Billings pulled 11.02, “Recommend the Board approve the contract between Mason County Board of Education and Justin Time, to provide mowing/trimming services for Ashton Elementary, Beale Elementary, Hannan Jr/Sr High, Leon Elementary, and Roosevelt Elementary, for the 2022 mowing season at a cost of $48,800 for discussion,” for discussion.
“I’m all for this,” Billings said. “When I came on here eight years ago, this is something I’d liked to have seen [then] and we had more maintenance men at the time.”
Billings said many of the workers with the maintenance department have went to school for specific trades and he would like to see them doing tasks related to that and not spending so much time mowing.
“The question I do have for this, for the contracted out,” Billings said. “We didn’t do that the last eight years, we spent a lot of money on mowers. Where are we at with these mowers? Where are these mowers and now what [are] we going to do with the trimmers, the weed-eaters?”
“We don’t think we’ll need to purchase any additional mowers this year,” Burdette said. “Of course, if these two contracts pass, our maintenance guys will still be maintained at all the Point Pleasant schools.”
Burdette said he sees it as a pilot program, and the county should keep the equipment that will be used some this summer, but also if the situation does not seem to be a good fit for the future.
Director of Maintenance, Cameron Moffett, said all of the equipment is currently being serviced and are all out of warranty. He said each year before the season, he has them serviced to address new belts and basic wear and tear.
Burdette said there are a number of other projects around the schools that need completed and by freeing up some of the crew from mowing, more projects will be completed.
Bonecutter said she had a maintenance person contact her with concerns that this was not saving much time.
“I wanted to make sure it was efficient,” Bonecutter said. “Because it is a lot of money to be contracting out, but if it frees up all of our guys, the ones we do have to fix the problems.”
Moffett explained that most of the buildings are no longer new but 10 plus years, so basic upkeep is needed. If a door needs fixed and the maintenance crew member can fix it or it can be hired out for a higher cost, it does not make sense.
After discussing the contract and number of cuts, 32, the board passed the motion, 5-0.
Agenda item 11.03, also part of the mowing contract but with a different company, was pulled for Tennant to abstain from the vote. It passed, 4-0.
Burdette started by congratulating the Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School wrestlers for “dominating” and to the Wahama Junior/Senior High School wrestlers that “represented [the county] well” in the state tournament.
He also acknowledged both school’s recent musical programs, dinner theater and Black Knight Revue.
Burdette said all seniors are being encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) no matter their current future plans.
“The statewide goal is 60% of seniors to complete their FASFA by April 15,” Burdette said. “We continue to put that out there and challenge our seniors to get to that point.”
As of March 11, 42.7% of the county’s seniors had completed the form, with Wahama leading the high schools with 59% of their seniors completing the application.
Burdette said with just about two months of the school year left, they are being to look at summer enrichment activities, most being two-week long camps and all being after July 1. He said details will be coming in the future.
Billings asked about the Nucor donation.
Burdette said the check was received and cleared about two weeks prior and that he spoke with the Nucor representatives who told him to “use as [you] see fit to benefit students in Mason County.”
“The Nucor folks are very supportive and very encouraging,” Burdette said. “They are eager to work with use and talk with us.”
The next Mason County Board of Education meeting is April 12 at 6 p.m.
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Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.