Tension continues among Jefferson school members

July 03, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Tensions continued Tuesday night between three new members of the Jefferson County Board of Education and incumbent members Doris Cline and Paul Manzuk.

Cline and Manzuk said they have not been informed about the list of new ideas board members Lori Stilley, Cheryl Huff and Delores Milstead have for the school system. The complaint was similar to those they made Monday during the board's organizational meeting.

Manzuk objected to a proposal to create four new committees because the proposals were not part of the original agenda for Tuesday's meeting.


Manzuk said he would vote against the creation of all four committees because there was no way he could form an opinion on the proposals when he only found out about them 15 minutes before the meeting.

"I hope this is not a trend," Manzuk said.

Board of Education President Lori Stilley said including the committee proposals through an addendum was the only way to get them on the agenda because the previous board of education had already developed Tuesday night's agenda.

Stilley, who called for the formation of the committees, said it was not a "sneaky way of doing things."

The committees are an attempt to get the public more involved in the school system and help county residents better understand the school system, Stilley said.

They are advisory committees, and in many cases, are designed to help school administrators run the school system. They would be made up of volunteers and some would be specialists in fields such as finance, according to Stilley.

Financial experts could sit on the financial advisory committee, a group that would help develop a layman's explanation of how the school system's complicated budgeting system works, Stilley said.

It is hoped that the more knowledgeable citizens are about the school's finances, the more supportive they will be of the system's needs, supporters said.

The three other committees include a facilities advisory committee, a transportation advisory committee and a curriculum advisory committee.

Cline asked school treasurer Nancy White if the financial advisory committee would be helpful.

White said she has not had a chance to review the proposal.

"We haven't either," Cline said.

Because she and Manzuk have not been included in discussions with Stilley, Huff and Milstead, Cline said she feels like she is "being pushed into a corner."

"I'm going into an area I don't feel comfortable with. What's she going to do with the transportation committee? Reroute the buses?" Cline said.

Although board members - with the exception of Manzuk - voted for the committees, Stilley agreed to have a charter for the committees drawn up first before the groups are given final approval.

The charters will give board members an idea what the groups will do, Stilley said.

The board also voted to have Superintendent of Schools R. Steven Nichols and Stilley write a letter to the Jefferson County Planning Commission detailing projected enrollments, school capacities and other issues involving schools.

It is hoped the planning commission will use the information when determining if a housing development is suitable for the county.

The board also voted to send a letter to the Charles Town City Council saying board members want input on how much impact fees should be for the Huntfield and Norborne Glebe developments.

Milstead requested that Nichols draft a lengthy "state of the schools report" that includes information such as attendance and dropout rates, suspension rates, college attendance numbers, curriculum innovation efforts and other facts.

Cline whispered to Milstead that those type of reviews are conducted regularly.

"Well, I'd like it in one big report," Milstead said.

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