(04/18/2002)
The Calhoun Board of Education approved a $10 million budget Monday evening. The actual budget, excluding special projects and federal grants is $6,867,351, according to Superintendent Ron Blankenship. The board also approved their annual levy.

Much of Monday's meeting was spent in an expulsion hearing of a sixth grade student at Calhoun Middle School for possession of Marijuana. The expulsion hearing was public at the request of the parent.

The student had displayed his possession of the drug on a school bus, after which he was confronted by school administrators. The Calhoun County Sheriff's Department made positive identification of the drug.

The youth's mother stated he was an A and B student, and school authorities say he had no other problems. Administrator Garza said "We have to submit a recommendation for expulsion." The board voted to expel the youth for one year, sending him to alternative school at the Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center. "He is so young," said board member Carlene Frederick.

Superintendent of Schools Blankenship spoke with the youth at length about his possession of the drug. He responded with "It was my mistake. I wasn't thinking about the consequences for what I did." He said he wanted to be a "hot shot." He then made an apology and said his goal was to keep his good grades and go to college.

Blankenship said "We don't like doing this. I hope this will help."

The school board addressed an issue regarding expanding personal leave, apparently linked to school bus drivers and other employees not being paid when they could not perform their duties during a recent flood.

Administrator Donnie Pitts said "They have options to get paid when they don't work, even though it wasn't their fault they didn't get to work." He said they can use personal leave days or borrow personal leave days. About a dozen personnel were affected during a period of two-day flooding.

Pitts said "No grievances have been filed." He said Ron Blankenship has been "gracious" regarding the issue, although there might have been times when personnel got paid when they should not have.

Pitts said that no one was "docked" unless that was their choice. When most people can't get to work and perform their duties, they generally don't get paid.

Governor Bob Wise will visit Calhoun High on May 8 to present the Promise Scholarships.

The board was advised the moving of the bleachers from the old athletic field to the Mount Zion campus will be getting underway, according to Bob Bonar of the CCACC.

The board was presented with the West Virginia Report Card for Calhoun Schools.

The board approved a number of personnel items, change of status and transfers and other items, which will be listed in the publishing of the board minutes.


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