Valley High Principal Ray Londeree told the Fayette County Board of Education the school is seeing good things happen in its first couple of months after accepting students from the closed Gauley Bridge High School.

Students are off to “a solid educational start,” Londeree stressed during brief remarks at the board’s regular meeting Monday.

Much of the credit for that goes to the “hard work and dedication” of teachers and staff at the school. “They’ve done an outstanding job,” Londeree said.

He also praised the work of individuals such as Sharon Benda, whom he termed “the world’s greatest homeroom mother.”

Additionally Monday, David Seay, the director of transportation and custodial services, said it’s important to find a nighttime parking spot in Oak Hill for 15 buses that serve the Oak Hill High attendance area, which also includes Collins Middle and Rosedale, Scarbro, Oak Hill and Oak Hill East End elementaries. Member Peggy Farmer mentioned the situation at a recent meeting.

Two buses have been moved from the former stadium on Central Avenue recently purchased by the Lewis Community Foundation. Seay told members that nine buses are driven home by their drivers, five are housed at the bus garage in Fayetteville and one is parked overnight at Rosedale.

A centralized location, such as near the Fayette Institute of Technology or adjacent to John P. Duda Stadium, would help the county save money on fuel, as well as saving time, Seay noted. “We really need to find a place in Oak Hill,” he said.

He said the W.Va. Division of Highways has temporarily agreed to enter into a short-term lease at no cost to the board to park the buses at the old DOH garage on East Main Street.

Along another transportation front, Seay broached the topic of the county maybe eventually moving to bio-diesel fuel for its buses. Bio-diesel, Seay pointed out, is a mixture of 80 percent diesel, 20 percent vegetable oil. It is currently used only in the northern portion of the state, but other county systems are considering it, he said.

Seay said his research indicates use of bio-diesel would eventually save the county money, since the state reimburses at a higher rate for it, as well as lessen impact on the environment. He said the current buses would not have to be altered in any manner to use the new fuel.

Also Monday:

Attorney Erwin Conrad briefed the board on situations involving the hiring of service personnel, particularly hiring staff members with certification in a one field or another ahead to those who are on a preferred recall list. He also stressed that the county “routinely gives competency tests for those that want to achieve classification.”

The board approved a change order of $30,596.50 to permit paving of the Fayetteville High School parking lot to accompany construction of the school’s new gymnasium. In doing so, the board committed to paying about an extra $700, since the SBA funds and QZAB loan package for the project have now dried up.

Members were reminded that the money should be spent, or it will be sent back. It can not be applied to any other project. Member Patricia Spangler, who worked with the Oak Hill Rotary Club on Bridge Day weekend, gave kudos to the county bus drivers who helped transport visitors to the festival. “The whole system should be really proud of them,” she said, adding the drivers were “good ambassadors for our county.”

Anna Kincaid-Cline, director of curriculum/vocational, had a presentation on staff development, highlighting the success of the Summer Academy, in which teachers participated in more than 40 training sessions.

In policy development, the first reading was held on policies concerning exemptions from compulsory attendance, and valedictorians/salutatorians.

In personnel matters, Ted Dixon was transferred from his special education teacher slot at Rosedale Elementary to that school’s principal post. Greg Crist, who was head boys’ basketball coach at Mount Hope High for six years ending in 2002-03, was named to that position at Midland Trail High, replacing John Flournoy, who left over the summer to take the Princeton job.

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