CINDERELLA – The first meeting of the Mingo County Board of Education since the start of the new school year indicated both signs of growth as well as financial restraint and caution resulting from the region’s current economic situation.
At the meeting, Superintendent Don Spence, provided a report concerning the opening of the 2016-17 school year. Spence reported a successful opening to the school year as well and an increase in enrollment. “I want to comment on the opening of schools. Mr. Duncan, Mrs. Brown and I visited all the schools on Thursday and Friday. I want to report that all schools were open and clean. Students and administration were happy to be back. It was a very successful opening. I sent an email out to all principals thanking them for their dedication and hard work and told them that the bus drivers, cooks, aides and the maintenance staff should be commended for the work that they had done. It was a very successful opening and it was evident when we went out and viewed the schools,” Spence explained.
Spence continued stating, “I also want to talk about enrollment. With the economy the way that it is, one would assume that we would have a drop in enrollment. When comparing figures from today versus 365 days ago, at this exact same point, we have not lost enrollment. In fact, we have actually gained nine students at this point. That is very surprising and encouraging. We don’t have the numbers from Pre-K yet, but we hope they fall into those lines. With everything that has happened to this county, one would assume that enrollment numbers would drop but that is not the case. We are very excited about that. “
The current financial situation of the county and state was also reflected at Tuesday’s meeting as the school board made decisions that could impact the budget. The BOE voted to abolish a secretary position. Spence began the discussion during general considerations stating, “We are talking about the consideration of the vacant position for the secretary at Mingo Central. We have to come up with a solution now. We tabled it at the last meeting. I am assuming that it is up to us now that we vote. Are we going to abolish the position or post the position?”
In response, BOE member June Glover asked Spence what his recommendation would be. Spence stated, “Anytime that you have a retirement situation and are looking at a way to cut the budget, that is a good time to do it. You aren’t actually cutting a job; you are just cutting a position.” Following discussion, the BOE voted in favor of abolishing the position after a period of 20 days to allow the duties associated with the position to be absorbed by the remaining two secretaries.
The BOE exercised financial caution when approving the purchase of new buses for the school system. Board members voted in favor of purchasing three new buses. However, much discussion was given concerning the purchase of an additional new bus or multiple used buses. Transportation Director Joe Howard explained the benefits associated with the purchase of an additional bus. BOE members requested additional time to review finances before approving the purchase of an additional bus. Board member Sabrina Grace made the motion stating, “I want to make the motion to purchase the three from Heritage Company and we will also look into and if we have the extra, to go toward the fourth.”
The next regular meeting of the Mingo County Board of Education will be held at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20.
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)