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Putnam school board suspends 3 employees

Putnam school board suspends 3 employees


WINFIELD — The Putnam County Board of Education voted during its regular meeting Monday to suspend three school system employees without pay.

The board voted unanimously to suspend professional employees Sarah Black and Karen Absten, and service employee Bryan Morrison.

The board voted to suspend Black, who is listed as a teacher at Hurricane High School on the West Virginia Department of Education website, for four days — effective May 26.

Absten, who is listed as a special education teacher at Poca Middle School on the state Department of Education website, was suspended for 15 days — effective May 24.

The board approved to suspend Morrison, who is listed as an aide at Winfield Elementary School, for 18 days — effective May 9.

Putnam County Schools spokeswoman Micah Osborne said after the meeting that the school system could not comment on personnel matters.

The board also voted to approve a high school math waiver.

Doug Cross, the school system’s assistant superintendent for instruction said the waiver allows the school system to offer trigonometry and pre-calculus as two separate classes as math credits.

“Trigonometry and pre-calculus were lumped together as opposed to two separate classes. We pursued this last year. The only way we could get it approved was for trig to be a math credit, but pre-calc to be an elective credit. Our math teachers and I weren’t happy with that, so we proceeded with it as it was,” Cross told the board. “Now we’ve been told that some upcoming changes in policy will allow that, so we decided to pursue that. The teachers like it, having those two classes separated.”

The change will begin during the 2017-18 school year.

In April, Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill eliminating the current Regional Education Service Agencies, which are multi-county entities meant to aid county public school systems through, among other things, shared services and personnel.

Because the bill eliminates the RESA position, which Putnam County Schools often used for matters regarding safety, key-cards and energy management, the board voted Monday to approve a new director of E-Rate, energy education and safety management.

“Since RESAs are now ending. This [position] would do E-Rate for our county and could perhaps even extend out to other counties...” Superintendent John Hudson told the board. “This is a way we can, I believe, with the E-Rate position and the energy education safety management, we can have that one person here with our district and be our employee.”

Hudson said the employee could also be “contracted out” to other organizations within Putnam County Schools’ current RESA region — and even outside the region.

The new position will begin July 1.

The board went into an executive session for more than 50 minutes prior to adjourning Monday to discuss a personnel matter.

Osborne said the school system can not comment on personnel matters discussed in executive session.

The next board of education meeting will be June 19.

Reach Carlee Lammers at, 304-348-1230 or follow @CarleeLammers on Twitter.

Funerals for Friday, July 19, 2019

Cawley Jr., George - 3 p.m., Gatens - Harding Funeral Home, Poca.

Cunningham, Corinna - 11 a.m., Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mt. Lookout.

Evenson, Warren - 2 p.m., Donel C. Kinnard State Veterans Cemetery, Dunbar.

Lawrence, Jerry - 1 p.m., Snodgrass Funeral Home, South Charleston.

Ratliff, Sarah - 2 p.m., Odd Fellow Cemetery, Oak Hill.

Williams, Scott - 11 a.m., Gatens - Harding Funeral Home, Poca.