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One Putnam Co. teacher's aide fired, one teacher suspended

By Kara Moore

WINFIELD, W.Va. — A teacher's aide was fired and a teacher was suspended at Monday's regular meeting of the Putnam County Board of Education.

The board spent more than two hours in a closed-door executive session to discuss personnel issues before suspending Denise Edwards, a special education teacher at Winfield Elementary School, and firing Lori Harrison, a teacher's aide at Winfield High School. 

Edwards participated in the executive session with a lawyer, but would not comment when she emerged.

She is suspended without pay for three days for "willful neglect of duty, insubordination and violation of the Employee Code of Conduct," according to the agenda.

Harrison did not attend the meeting and was fired for "violation of the Employee Code of Conduct, insubordination and immorality," according to the published agenda. The board also retroactively approved a suspension for Harrison effective March 12.

Superintendent Chuck Hatfield would not comment on either matter.

In other news, levy rates in Putnam County will be virtually unchanged in the next fiscal year, which beings July 1.

The current levy and excess levy will not, and the bond levy will decrease slightly.

Voters in Putnam County approved a bond sale in 2009 to finance school building projects. The bond levy only has to raise enough money to make debt payments, and since the county's total assessed property value rose slightly at the last assessment, the bond levy rate will fall slightly for the next fiscal year.

The board will meet April 16 to officially set the levy rates.

The board also recognized Pam Smith, a Pre-K teacher at Buffalo Elementary School who has been recognized as the first West Virginia Universal Pre-K teacher of the year.

The board also recognized three teachers who recently earned national board certification — Holly Hoover, Courtney Ruppert and Rachelle Williams.

Hurricane High School student Grace Pritt performed three poems by Dorothy Parker, Langston Hughes and Emily Dickinson. She performed the poems in the West Virginia Poetry Out Loud competition and finished runner-up among 10 finalists.

The Putnam County Board of Education meets at 7 p.m. the first and third Tuesday of every month at the central office in Winfield. However, the next two meetings will be irregular. The board will meet April 8, after Spring Break, and April 16 to set the levy rates as required by law. All meetings are open to the public.


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