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Board of Education receives input from community

by Gail Marsh

Assistant city editor

LOST CREEK -- A highly respected former coach, mentor and teacher at South Harrison High School was honored posthumously by the county school board, which renamed the school's football facility after him on Monday evening.

The Harrison County Board of Education named the high school's football field "Gary Barnette Field" during its regular meeting held at the school Monday night. The field will be formally dedicated on Friday at 6:30 p.m. before the South Harrison-Ritchie County football game.

The school board met at South Harrison to begin a five-week schedule of School Board Effectiveness Meetings. Those meetings are mandated by the state Board of Education to allow each county school board to hear the concerns of school principals, staff and members of the community. The board held its regular board meeting before the two-hour effectiveness meeting began.

A number of parents from the Bridgeport area attended the regular meeting to voice their concerns about a bussing issue at Johnson and Simpson Elementary schools. According to Jennifer Trippett, owner of Cubbys Child Care, the bus that transports children to her after-school program at the Bridgeport Civic Center is overcrowded and unable to deliver all the children to that destination. She has had to take two or three private cars to Simpson Elementary to pick up the extra children.

Following a motion by board member Wilson Currey, the board agreed to have the director of transportation and the superintendent look into the situation to try to come up with a solution.

Brad Cochran of Adamston also spoke before the board concerning a proposed playground that the board has agreed to build in partnership with the Clarksburg Board of Parks and Harrison County Parks and Recreation.

Cochran would like to see the playground built adjacent to Adamston Elementary School at the end of the parking lot, instead of at the proposed site on lower Adams Street, facing his front door.

He noted that the bond ballot of 1991 stated that bond money was to be used for building a playground adjacent to the school, not a city park 200 yards down the road from the school.

"I would like to ask the board if the playground can be moved closer to the school, or to meet with all the parties involved to see that it's located closer to the school," Cochran said.

Board President Sally Cann told Cochran that it was the will of the board to build the park there and members were not convinced that it would hurt property values or cause problems for the neighborhood. Member James Bennett encouraged Cochran to talk with Adamston principal James Eakle and his staff about the playground's location.

In other business, the board:

-- recognized Bridgeport High School teacher Alice Rowe as Harrison County Teacher of the Year.

-- read a proclamation designating October as International Alpha Delta Kappa Month. The month highlights the work of the international women's society for educators.

Following its regular meeting, the board heard from faculty and staff representatives from South Harrison, Bridgeport, Robert C. Byrd, Liberty and Lincoln High schools, along with United Technical Center and Tri-County High School.

School representatives shared some of the schools' achievements, along with concerns, including the loss of teachers due to declining student enrollments and the need for more technology.

Dr. Carl Friebel, Harrison's superintendent, said he was pleased with the direction of the first School Board Effectiveness Meeting of the school year, and felt the board was better informed to address the needs of the school system.

"Technology is something we are addressing in the upcoming levy. The levy is what has helped us to become the technology leader in the state.

"The staffing issue is a Legislative issue. It's driven by enrollment through the state funding formula, and we hope to see some headway this year in that direction," he said.

The board will hold a special board meeting and work session on Friday at 9 a.m. at the central office on E.B. Saunders Way.

Assistant city editor Gail Marsh can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at gmarsh@exponent-telegram.com

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