Will a bill before the WV Legislature alleviate the shortage of school bus drivers in Hancock County? Discussion on SB 267 was held Monday by the Hancock County Board of Education. Director of Transportation Chris Enochs told the Board that the County is having to cancel or combine bus route due to the shortage caused by drivers leaving for the increasing number of higher paying job available. Board President Danny Kaser pointed out that bus drivers need an increase in pay, saying they have only seen a raise twice in 20 years.
“It’s a shame,” said Kaser of the bus drivers’ salary. He noted that all bus drivers have CDL certification in addition to training specific to school bus safety and he said while many could get better paying jobs outside the school system the majority of them stay “because they love the kids.”
Enochs pointed out that with upcoming springs sports schedule getting the students to games on time is a challenge. The bill would allow the use of vans with a limit of 10 to a vehicle with the driver included in that number. In the past coaches would often drive the students, but the bills provides the flexibility to allow the use of service personnel to drive.
The bill is sponsored by Senator Ryan Weld (R-1st) and Kaser asked Enochs if any of the area legislators has sought input from Hancock County regarding the bill to which Enochs replied none had reached out to him.
The approval for the inclusion of Academic Games into the Program of Study for the 2022-2023 School Year at Weir High was granted. The program is available only at Weir High and will now be an elective. In response to questions from the Board as to whether Oak Glen could have access to the program, Petrovich said since it was an elective an instructor will be needed. Since the Weir High sponsor of Academic Games is paid a stipend, the Board suggested pursuing whether an Oak Glen High teacher would be willing to act as a sponsor and the same stipend apply.
In other business, the Board:
**Approved an unpaid Leave of Absence for Elisa Greathouse, Michele Lynch and Megan Heupp;
**Transferred Travis Snyder from Multi-Categorical/Autism, Weir Middle, to Teacher, Grade 6, Weir Middle;
**Approved Cassandra Hackbart as a Countywide Substitute Teacher;
**Accepted the resignation of Tyler Ossman as Assistant Football Coach at Oak Glen High;
**Approved the following assignments: Oak Glen High: Assistant Girls’ Track – Ryan Wells and Erin Malcomb; Head Boys’ Tennis – Brooke Provenzano; Weir High: Assistant Baseball – Rudy Rosnick.
**Approved the following Strength & Conditioning positions: Oak Glen High – Patrick McGillian; Weir High – Frank Sisinni;
**Transferred William Watts from Assistant Girls’ Soccer to Head Girls’ Soccer at Oak Glen High;
**Granted leave of absences for classified employees Roseanna Finney, Karen, Virden and S. Renee Barber;
**Accepted the resignations of Brina Schons, Supevisory Aide/ECCAT, Weirton Elementary; Tyler Hamilton, Custodian II, Oak Glen Middle; James Chambers and Brandon Felton, substitute bus drivers’
**Approved the following classified staff transfers: Jonathan Ball, custodian IV/GM, Weirton Elementary to Locksmith/GM, Maintenance Dept.; Kiesha D. Shimon, Substitute Bus Operator, Countywide, to Bus Operator #208, Transportation Dept; Bethany Henderson, Bus Operator #153 to Bus Operator #136
**Approved John Barber as Emergency Substitute Bus Driver for emergency use only;
**Granted permission for the following overnight field trips: Oak Glen Middle 6th grade Chorus to Charleston for WV All-State Chorus Group, March 3-4; Weir High Future Business Leaders of American to Huntington for Spring Leadership Conference, March 13-15; Weir High Bowling Team to Louisville, KY for the National Championship, June 17-20; and Weir High Baseball Team to Keyser, WV and Frankfort, WV for double header March 25-26; Oak Glen Softball Team to Charles Town, WV for Varsity Roster Trip, March 17-19;
A project schedule update was provided on the Weir High baseball complex project by McKinley & Assoc. to the Hancock County Board of Education at Monday’s meeting, The drawings of the complex ran in a January 19, 2022 legal ad seeking contractors. A meeting with contractors preparing to bid on the project was held February 10 and the pre-bid meeting will be held March 7.