Despite just beginning his new employment as Wetzel County Schools' superintendent, Dennis J. Albright is already staying busy with fresh and creative ideas for Wetzel County Schools'.
Albright had several items to discuss at Monday night's meeting, the first being the employment of an additional Technology Systems Specialist for Wetzel County Schools.
This had been a topic mentioned at several previous meetings. Albright stated at Monday night's meeting that he had discussed the issue with both Assistant Superintendent Jay Yeager and Board Treasurer Jeff Lancaster. After looking at the board's budget, it was found that $175,000 is currently available for the position.
The board appeared to approve of the hiring measure with Board Vice President Bob Patterson stating the implementation of another TSS had his support. Board member Carolyn Gatian's only request is that the new employee keep a calendar of their job-related activities, including where they will be, as well as a list of goals.
Yeager emphasized the need for a TSS position, stating that beginning this year, the WesTest would be online, with a nine-week period available to take the test. Albright stated that most schools would probably want to wait to take the WesTest until the very last week, which would most likely cause issues throughout the state, with West Virginia's lack of a stable internet network.
Another request approved by the board was an additional $500 given so that Paden City High School's golf team would be able to play golf at Riverside Golf Course. Patterson stated that $500 was a small fee to pay to help establish another athletic team at Paden City.
In another matter, Albright stated that he would like to explore the possibility of including an "Ask the Superintendent" link on the county's website. Albright did state that visitors to the site would know that they could not use the link to register complaints about staff members. Questions could also be forwarded to the proper board member as well.
Albright also brought up the possibility of having an employee of the month for Wetzel County Schools. Patterson stated that other forms of recognition should be considered for the honored employee as well, for instance, a coveted parking spot. Board members discussed having a display of photos of employees of the month, as well as spotlighting the employee in the county paper.
The possibility of a student board member was also discussed. Albright said the student board member would not be allowed to vote on board matters but would "bring a valuable perspective to the board."
Albright said he had been out conducting several meetings with members of the community, including city council.
It was decided that at the next board meeting, the topic of parking at NMS would be put onto the agenda. The cost to rectify the situation will cost an estimated $50,100.
The situation was previously discussed at the June 3 meeting of the board of education. At that time, previous superintendent Diane Watt had stated that she and Director of Ancillary Services Brian Jones were still contemplating ways to fix the parking situation between New Martinsville School and New Martinsville Fire Department.
Previously, New Martinsville police had patrolled the area during off hours. However, since the police force was down, the option no longer existed.
At the June 3 meeting, Watt stated she had met with the city council again, who had grave concerns about the situation and proposed putting a fence up between NMS and the fire department. At this meeting, it was determined another roadway would need to be added because a one-way in and one way out of the school would be a safety issue at NMS.
In another matter, at Monday night's meeting, an additional pressing issue concerns a Prevention Resource Officer for Magnolia High School. The grant that funded city officer Steve Kastigar's position at Magnolia is about to expire, and it was mentioned at the board meeting that it appears as if council wants to "get out of" the PRO program, especially considering that the city's police force is down in number.
"It's no secret the the officer is a plus," President Mike Blair stated. "The city (previously) supported it wholeheartedly."
Several ideas were brought to the table as to how another officer could be brought into Magnolia for the PRO program, including implementing a retired officer or a veteran for the position. It was also determined that the board would be meeting with city council in the future to further discuss the PRO officer program.