Board makes calendar changes

BUCKHANNON – Students enrolled in Upshur County schools have missed 13 instructional days so far this school year due to winter weather.

In response, the board of education at its Tuesday meeting unanimously approved changes that involve adding 12 instructional days to the 2013-2014 school calendar.

Three of those 12 days – Friday, Feb. 14, April 7 and June 12 – will be instructional days with a 12:30 p.m. dismissal for Faculty Senate meetings. The following days will be full instructional days: March 1, March 14, April 18, April 21, May 23, June 6, June 9, June 10 and June 11.

The changes will allow for the maximum amount of instruction possible, Superintendent of Schools Roy Wager said.

In other business, Wager said since the passage of the excess levies in Saturday’s special election, he has taken time to compare this year’s results with the 2009 results – the last year the levy was up for renewal.

“What I like to do is to see why, and what happened when it did pass,” Wager said. “In just some of the comparisons I did, in ’09 it passed 51.15 to 48.85, about a 2 percent difference. It passed by 60 votes. And this year, it passed this time by 416 votes, 56.71 percent to 43.29 percent, which according to (Dr. Robert) Rupp (a West Virginia Wesleyan professor), our political science expert, he said if it’s over 10 percent, that’s a landslide.

“We were very pleased, very excited that it passed, very appreciative of all the citizens that came out,” Wager added.

The levy passed in more precincts this year than in 2009, Wager said – five years ago, 12 precincts were in favor of the levy and 17 were against it.

“This year, we had 18 for and 11 against, so that was a big gain there,” he said. “Sixty-eight more people this year voted against it than did in ’09, but if we look at the positive votes, we had 424 more people vote for it than did in ’09, which obviously is the difference. I was very excited to see that.”

Voter turnout was also higher this year, Wager said: 21.6 percent of registered voters cast ballots in 2014, compared to only 18 percent in 2009.

“It would be great if we could have 50 percent or 60 percent participation, but just the idea that we were able to get more people to come out and vote, just shows there’s a lot more interest hopefully in what’s going on in the school system,” Wager said.