JULIA ROBERTS GOAD
The Mingo County Board of Education heard an update on construction projects at two elementary schools as well as concerns from parents at its regular meeting Tuesday.
Rob Bobbera, assistant superintendent, gave a snapshot view of renovations at Riverside and Matewan Elementary Schools. He said construction has begun on both buildings, but that it is limited to exterior work while school is in session.
“The company doing the work, Burke Construction, is being very cognizant of the time, and working with us to not disturb classes,” Bobbera said. “They will work on the interiors of the schools during summer vacation.”
He told the Board the remodeling at Riverside will create four classrooms and a gym, as well as two science lab classrooms. Students who currently attend Williamson Middle School will then attend Riverside.
The Matewan construction will also include a gym and two science labs, as well as expand the cafeteria and create a music room, Bobbera said.
He told the Board the principals at both schools were working with parents and buses and there had been little if any disruption in traffic due to the construction, before or after school.
The parent of a student at Mingo Central High School spoke about an injury her son received in PE class.
Angie Maynard said her son’s finger was severely dislocated during physical education class in January and required medical treatment. Although her family has no medical insurance coverage, she said she assumed that her son was covered under some type of insurance while he was at school.
“When I got to the school, I saw his hand was really hurt, and so we went straight the the hospital,” Maynard said. “When we got there, of course we were listed as self-pay, since we had no coverage. Then, the bills started coming in from the hospital, so I called the Board … and was told the insurance company would contact me. That took a month, and when they did, they said the school had shown no negligence and so my son’s injuries were not covered.”
She said personnel at the BOE told her it was her responsibility to insure her son, and the insurance company advised her to find the student who had pushed him and file a lawsuit.
“I think the Board should offer some optional coverages for students who are not covered under other insurance,” Maynard said. “There are criminals that have medical and dental care, but not my son. I have written to my governor and my president, I feel like I have no options.”
Mingo Superintendent Randy Keathley told Maynard he wasn’t sure what he could do, but that he would look into the matter. BOE President Bill Duty said he felt there were insurance companies that would offer optional coverage to students, if there were no companies currently selling such policies in the school system.
The Board also discussed volunteers with the Appalachian Service Project being housed at BOE facilities. The organization brings volunteers to the county each summer to help make home repairs for low income families.