KEYSER, W.Va. — Though there were some issues with following board policy at the last meeting, the Mineral County Board of Education approved for local churches to use the South End Sports Complex in a 4-1 vote.

“I want to thank the board for hearing this, and forgive us for not knowing board policy,” Pastor Jody Bean of the First Baptist Church in Keyser said. “What we want to do is bring the community together in the name of Jesus Christ.”

At the May 5 meeting of the board of education, members began trying to have a discussion with the pastors, but the request was considered a non-agenda item. Bob Shook, who had the one dissenting vote Tuesday night, reminded his colleagues at the May 5 meeting that the board does not respond during public comment items.

With the ministers’ request placed on the agenda at Tuesday’s meeting, the board was free to discuss and make a decision on the use of the complex for a three-day event that would run from July 30 to Aug. 1.

The event would include a variety of activities, including a movie, and there would be no profit, other than a collection of canned goods for the local food pantries.

Superintendent Skip Hackworth recommended to the board to approve the use of the complex for the event, as even the City Council will be working with the group for use of pavilions, grills and the pool.

“It’s nice to see the city and the county able to work together,” Mary Aronhalt, board member, said.

Hackworth said this isn’t the first event the board has approved on the site. It has been used for community youth athletics and once for the carnival for the Strawberry Festival.

He said the board will need to work out the details of liability insurance for the event with the church groups.

Hackworth also announced that a college-age man who has been knocking door to door offering educational services has no affiliation with the board of education. He plans to contact police in this matter.

The county has come to an agreement on the issue of the school resource officer, Deputy Paul Karalewitz, Hackworth told the board. The county has agreed the board should not pay the salary for Karalewitz when he is not working at the schools.

They decided to split the contract of 200 days paid by the school board and 60 days paid by the county. During the summer months and other down time for the school system, Karalewitz will be able to work for the sheriff’s department and the county.

Karalewitz has been keeping a presence at the high school since prom night, Hackworth said.

Contact Sarah Moses at smoses@times-news.com.

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