Mon BOE accepts proposed budget; recognizes top-performing students and teachers

The Monongalia County Board of Education has quickly moved on after the overwhelming defeat of the Renaissance Academy bond measure during Tuesday’s primary election.

Meeting in regular session that following evening, BOE members approved proposed rates for the district’s $176.8 operating budget for Fiscal Year 2024-25.

In contrast, the bond call for the academy, which would have been West Virginia’s first standalone high school devoted solely to STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – came in at nearly $143 million.

Neither Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. nor board members commented on the ballot fate of the project, focusing instead on that proposed budget, which is now open to a review period by the public.

For now, the budget presentation by Treasurer Nicole Kemper may be viewed on the district’s YouTube channel.

When the local board next meets May 28, members will make their final vote before sending the document off to Charleston for a final review by the state Board of Education.

Mon’s current education levy, plus its excess levy for education, are set to comprise 22% and 23% of revenues, respectively, for the new budget.

Pay raises of $2,460 for teachers and $1,400 for service employees are also reflected in the updated budget – along with that 10.5% increase in premiums through the Public Employees Insurance Agency, the entity that covers both sets of workers.

A $7 million outlay is also included for capital improvement projects.

Related, the district is readying for work at the county’s Technical Education Center, which is being expanded to include a robotics classroom.

Other projects on the to-do list include the updating the Safe Schools entrance at Mountainview Elementary.

Dollars from the state School Building Authority will fund the work at both buildings.

Meanwhile, Mon’s board also officially acknowledged some top-performing students and teachers from the district.

Morgantown High’s trophy-winning History Bowl teams were recognized for their champion showings in state competition.

Varsity team members Preston Hetrick, Steven Tian, Venkat Das, Alex Dering and Juliana Ferrell each received certificates of appreciation from the district.

So did Ethan Liu, August Mallow, Zadie Behnke, Ivan Lin and Ava Jones, of the school’s junior varsity team.

Members of Morgantown High’s state championship Academic Showdown Team were also recognized. They are: Sawyer Rudy, Preston Hetrick, Agatha Dahle, Logan Ross and Julia Oliverio.

Pratham Bhanushali and Grace Yan, National Merit Scholars from MHS, were publicly acknowledged, along with their classmate Lauren Shen, a U.S. Presidential Scholar.

Andrew Kisner, a National Merit Scholar from University High, will be recognized at the BOE’s May 28 meeting.

Karianne Smead, who is on the math faculty at Morgantown High, was honored by the board for being named the Secondary School Mathematics Teacher of the Year by the West Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Her colleague, Carol Roskos, of Ridgedale Elementary, joined her at the meeting. Roskos, who teaches music there, was recently recognized as Teacher of the Year for the state of West Virginia by the Society for General Music Educators.