BOE votes against college agreement

ELKINS – The Randolph County Board of Education voted Tuesday against approving an agreement with Davis & Elkins College for D&E students to participate in a federal work study program in county schools.

Board member Donna Auvil asked for clarification about whether the school system will have to pay the D&E students, or pay for any taxes or benefits connected to their working in the schools.

“We have been assured by the college that if we choose to participate – all you are doing tonight is giving us the right to participate – we are not approving the employment or placing of any of the work study students. You are just giving us the right to participate,” Superintendent Terry George said.

“We have been told by the college we will not be responsible for any of these costs. We are trying to get it into place if we have the opportunity to use it.”

Board President Lisa Wamsley pointed out the contract states, “For purposes of this agreement, the organization’s share shall be 0 percent of each student’s federal minimum wage.”

Auvil said the contract also states the board is responsible for the D&E students’ workers’ compensation and FICA.

“Are we going to be responsible for that?” Auvil asked.

George said he was told the school system would not be responsible for anything.

“But it says we are in here,” Auvil said.

“I understand that,” George said.

Auvil asked Randolph County Schools Treasurer Brad Smith what he thought the contract wording meant.

“It sounds confusing, as though we may have to pay,” Smith said. “We could be responsible.”

“My suggestion is for you to defeat this, and when we get a clarification, we will bring it back to you,” George said. “We are looking for an opportunity through work study. I know that Wesleyan College uses it in Upshur County and D&E has offered to use this in Randolph County. We were under the understanding that there would be no cost to us.”

All BOE members voted against approving the agreement, saying more information was needed. George said he would put the recommendation on an upcoming agenda once the questions have been answered.

The next Randolph County BOE meeting is slated for 5 p.m. Aug. 19.