Board honors retiring teachers; allows for feasibility study of Vevay School

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The Switzerland County School Board Trustees acknowledged the retirement of six teachers during its meeting on Monday, June19th.

In total they have over 184 years of accumulated years of experience.

Retired teachers and their years service included Janet Hendricks (44), Rita Ross (30), Linda Kurdys (30.5), Sherrie Howard (26.5), Rebecca Bunner (29) and Larry Gault (24 plus over 40 years as a lay coach).

Following a presentation of gifts, personnel was moved up on the agenda to approve new teachers. Board president Katie Collier thanked for their dedication and for being great examples and role models.

Tony Spoores said we can all learn so much from the retiring teachers. Mr. Gault has done so much more than PE. Jill Cord singled out Mrs. Ross for her work in solving speech and hearing problems. Amy Combs thanked Mrs. Hendricks for making learning exciting. She had her in seventh and senior years.

New hires included:

*Traleen O’Collins- K-6 General Music/High school and middle school choir position

*Kyle Green- high school Social Studies;

*Alexis Braun- High School English;

*Allen Chase- Grade 5 teacher;

*Jennifer Hon- resignation of paraprofessional position pending approval of two pre-school teachers.

*Courtney Browning- Pre-school paraprofessional

*Courtney Scott- Elementary teacher

*John Scott- Elementary teacher

*Spring Knue- Pre-school paraprofessional

In extracurricular appointments, the board accepted the resignation of Colleen Green from her softball position. Sean Cook was approved as summer baseball coach. Stipends were approved for the girls summer basketball program for Mark Boggs, Courtney Dayadharum, Wayne Ellegood, Corey Lay, Haylee Lay and Brooke Todd.

Mrs. Cord motioned to add to agenda discussion of old Vevay High School and the board’s previous decision to have it torn down. It failed without a second.

After discussion action on the approval of the May 15th minutes was tabled while other consent agenda items were approved.

Mrs. Cord pointed out what she thought was an inaccurate statement in the minutes. It read: the board is aware that the asbestos in the building will need to be removed no matter what future is decided for it.

She contends only asbestos must be removed if the building is demolished and if rehabilitated it only needs to be encapsulated .

Board member Tye Sullivan said the asbestos had to be removed according to the asbestos study.

Mrs. Cord said she wants accuracy in the school board minutes.

During the board’s public comment session local resident Lisa Fisher requested approval to pay for a feasibility study of the old school, calling her self an old building lover. She wants the study to know what exactly needs done and find out exactly what it would take to clean the building up.

Her ideas for the building include two office spaces to rent out, two apartment upstairs or four one room overnight spaces which could help with tourism.

A study could take four months but she would like to have it done by the end of August. Her idea includes the school giving the building to a non-profit entity and the school would not have to spend $200,000 to take asbestos out to take it down.

Nancy Barker also spoke in support and is interested in preserving the building.

Spoores noted that not all of the history would be gone when the building is torn down. The gym is still in use. Different memorabilia could be set up there.

Other public comments included Fred Ross giving a report on grants received this past hear including $95,232 from the Community Foundation of Switzerland County and $34,605.84 from the Vevay Switzerland Foundation. Additional Medicaid reimbursements were received also.

Band student Elliott Moore told the board the recent band camp was a success and he asked for more support (not financial) from the board.

In other business, superintendent Mike Jones reported on the endowment meeting and negotiations.

Mrs. Cord reported that she and member Greg Bosaw plan to do an audit of all extracurricular funds in August or September.

The board approved a reconfiguration of elementary schools to preschool through sixth grade beginning this fall.

Zoner was selected a new GPS provider agreement to address issues including harsh breaking. The new company will make reports easier to generate. It will cost $1000 more per year which Jones said would be worth it.

Textbook adoption for health for grades 9-12.

A 10 cent increase was approved in the school lunch prices to be in compliance with federal school lunch.

Google Technology was approved as a middle school class.

The PTA was given approval to use the Switzerland County Elementary School for its Back to School Fun Fair on Aug. 8th from 4 to 7:30 p.m.

School board comments

Amy Combs complimented graduation and the work on grants.

Greg Bosaw said farewell to the retirees and welcomed new employees

Tye Sullivan highlighted last week’s substance abuse meeting encouraging others get involved in Drug Free SC . He also asked to remember SCES teacher Travis Griffith who is having health issues and wished the Archery Club best of luck in its trip to the worlds.

Sullivan read the company’s recommendation of all of asbestos be removed. It’s that information that the board use in its action regarding the old school and referred to earlier.

Jill Cord read an extensive comment including having talked to 147 people from ages 11 to 90. She presented notes and comments and said 115 said the building should be saved. She also suggsted the school board explore alternatives and mitigate harm to the historic areas. She questioned how the board could fund $150,000 for the demolition and thousands more for dealing with the asbestos.

She questioned claims of $93,454 for the care of athletic fields when the board wants to tear down a building valued at $304,000.

She asked how can the board tear down a building that may be needed for storage or classrooms or even as a fallout shelter or even a teacher resource center.

Joe Bennett congratulated teachers and told parents that scholarships are available and he would like to see some type of senior orientation next year.

The meeting ended as president Collier called for a motion to adjourn as board members had begun to argue. The next meeting will be July 17 at 6 p.m.