WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Two farmers want Putnam County Schools to sell or long-term lease land around Confidence Elementary.
Kenny Rust and Roger Stone made the request at Monday night's regular meeting of the Putnam County Board of Education. The land is on Red House Hill and could provide a solution to problems Rust and Stone have with the untended land.
"You guys have a lot of property there," Rust said. "I have an interest in possibly buying a small portion of that."
He said Stone would also be interested in purchasing part of the land.
The county owns 250 acres of land, far more than the school uses, Superintendent Chuck Hatfield said.
"It was just part of the farm that was for sale," Hatfield said. "It was the old Bradley farm, and two sons inherited the property and they live in Arizona and didn't want it."
The property is split by W.Va. 34, and the portion across the highway from the school is wooded and not developed for farm use.
But the portion on the school side has an old barn and is planted with hay.
That hay has to be cut each year.
"Last year we cut the hay and brush-hogged the fields for you guys at no charge, which is not a problem," Rust said, "but somewhere down the line it needs to be maintained better than what we are able to do with a year-to-year access."
Rust cautioned the board that if the property isn't maintained the value would drop "drastically."
He also said he caught three hunters on the property during deer season last fall.
"I know that's against school policy and against school rules, "Rust said. "I caught three people over there during doe season with high-powered rifles and ran them off of the property and even called the game wardens, but they couldn't find them on the property. It's a vast area.
"People are coming in on your property and also encroaching on our properties, which puts a liability on us."
Rust said he and Stone as well as Chris Arthur, who owns another adjoining farm, want to find a solution to the problems he described.
Board President Butch Legg took Rust's phone number and a map of the properties and promised to follow up.
In other news, students in Putnam County have now missed 16 days of school because of the water crisis and snow days.
Assistant Superintendent Cindy Daniels said the students would be able to make up 10 of those days, but the other six will be lost so students will get only 174 instructional days, barring any additional closures.
Hatfield reported earlier this month that the county has six days in "accrued time," which is minutes beyond required instructional time in each school day.
Accrued time doesn't count toward the 180-day requirement.
Hatfield joked with the board that the weather report was promising and students might get a full week of school in this week.
The school board meets at 7 p.m. the first and third Monday of each month at the central office in Winfield. Meetings are open to the public.