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Wetzel Board Honors 25-Year Employees

By Staff | Jan 7, 2009

From left, Wetzel County Superintendent of School Bill Jones and Board President Mike Blair congratulate Steve Wayts and Meg Ensinger who were inducted into the 25 Year Club Jan. 5 with a reception hosted by the board of education. Other inductees not in attendance were Olivia Gump, John Kocher, Betty Lemasters, and Georgia Rice. (Photo by Bill Abraham)

Six employees of the Wetzel County School System were inducted into the 25 Year Club Jan. 5 with a reception hosted by the board of education at its first meeting of the new year.

Although not every one of the members were able to attend, each was introduced by Assistant Superintendent Jay Yeager, himself a club member, who briefly outlined their service.

Meg Ensinger, a special education teacher at New Martinsville School, joined the school system in 1978 at the former Reader Grade School;

Olivia Gump came to the Wetzel County School System in 1990 as a teacher in the first Early Start Program. She now teaches at Long Drain School.

John Kocher’s first position was physical education teacher at SLS. He later transferred to Valley High School, where he is head boys’ basketball coach, drivers’ ed teacher, and athletic director.

Betty Lemasters, a cook at NMS, began her career at Paden City Elementary School;

Georgia Rice has been a custodian at Magnolia High School since 1992. She started with the school system in 1983 at PCES and also has been a cook; and

Steve Wayts started with the school system in 1981 as a substitute bus operator and became fulltime in 1984. He is a certified instructor and trainer for new bus operators.

In addition to a certificate recognizing their service, each new club member also receive a large engraved glass memento with the date of their induction into the 25 Year Club.

Jack Berry of the West Virginia Auditor’s Office appeared before the board to encourage it to participate in the state’s purchasing card program, which has been used by state government agencies for 14 years.

The ONE Card is like a credit card that can be used to pay for anything from any vendor that recognizes the card, which is administered by Visa. Berry was accompanied by Karen Ingram of Union Bank in Parkersburg, a participating bank.

What banks and vendors get is cash flow and sales, while participating members get instant purchasing power at group-level rates, plus a rebate percentage based on usage.

Berry cited an example in which the Wetzel County school system could realize a return of $10,000 if it used the card to purchase $1 million in merchandise or services-anything from automobiles, to insurance premiums, to office supplies.

The program also can be used as a management tool to increase efficiency by eliminating the delays and paperwork commonly associated with the purchasing process. The card’s use can be monitored for fraud and its use can be restricted by several criteria, even the time of day and location it can be used.

The legislature last year authorized use of the ONE Card by county commissions and boards of education and the auditor’s office has been soliciting participation by those agencies since last September.

The Wetzel County Commission is a participant, as is the Lewis County School System and West Virginia University, that uses the ONE Card to purchase textbooks.

Board President Mike Blair told the visitors that the board would consider participation further and respond at a later date. In the meanwhile, a number of board members spoke favorably of the program’s advantages, including Willie Baker, a CPA.

A group of concerned parents also appeared before to board in a one-and-a-half hour executive session to discuss what it believes is harassment of their children and a hindering of their education.

The specifics of the complaint are not known, but no action was taken by the board when it reconvened in public session to continue its meeting.

The board passed on first reading changes to its guidance policy to bring it in line with mandatory provisions in the state version of the same policy.

It also approved the first reading of a revision in its appeals procedures for student and citizen complaints. The proposed change does nothing to alter present procedure for lodging complaints and having them heard.

The revisions move to a second and final reading at the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting, 7 p.m., Jan. 19 at the board offices, 333 Foundry St., New Martinsville.

Before adjourning, the board okayed several personnel changes, added several groups at various schools that are authorized to raise funds in their schools’ names, and added a large number of persons to the list of approved volunteers/chaperones for the 2008-09 school year.