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Schools To Get $1.29 Million

By Staff | Mar 18, 2009

In the photo are Magnolia High School students who asked members of the Wetzel County Board of Education March 16 to “Think Outside The Bottle” and help reduce or eliminate the use of plastic bottles in the school system. Standing from left are: Kelly Staley, Corinne Murdock, Urvi Patel, and Kelsey Klug. Seated are board members Linda Ritz, Robert Patterson, Mike Blair, Amy Dieffenbauch, and Willie Baker. (Photo by Bill Abraham)

Wetzel County Superintendent of Schools Bill Jones told the board of education March 16 that county schools will receive $1.29 million in federal funding from the stimulus package recently approved by Congress.

The funds are for restricted and non-sustainable spending on federal programs such as IDEA, that supports special education and Title I. Jones also said the county may receive more such funding later in the year.

The board approved a lease agreement with the New Martinsville Parks and Recreation Commission for the use of softball and soccer fields from March 16, 2009 to March 16, 2010. First year fee for the fields, located on Howard Jeffers Drive, is $5,000 and $2,000 per year if renewed thereafter.

Jones said the initial cost was higher to help fund improvements that had to be made at the location such as lighting, parking area, and dugouts.

The board approved levy estimates from the Wetzel County Assessor’s Office that are the same as they were last year. Based on $100 of assessed value, the rates are: $42.35, Class I property; $84.70, Class II property; $169.40, Class III; and $169.40 for Class IV.

Kim Kehrer and Anita Estel

It is on these figures that the board will develop a budget for the next school year-a process that is already underway.

The board also heard a Whiteboard presentation from students at Magnolia High School who sought the board’s encouragement and support in reducing and eliminating the use of plastic bottles.

The students-Corinne Murdock, Urvi Patel, Kelsey Klug, and Kelly Starkey-told the board that plastic bottles leach synthetic chemicals into water, causing such harmful effects as prostate cancer, increased heart rate, breast cancer, and obesity.

They also noted that 60 million plastic bottles a day are disposed of in America alone. Among the reasons the students said consumers should opt for tap water over bottled products were to protect health, save tax dollars, and protect the environment.

Vending machines in county schools dispense some plastic bottles containing water and other beverages. Although the board took no action at this meeting, Board President Mike Blair and other board members thanked the students for expressing their concerns.

The board also was briefed on the county’s new Parent Educator Resource Center, opened last month at the Wetzel County Center for Children and Families on state Route 7.

Parent Coordinator Anita Estel and Educator Liaison Kim Kehrer explained that the PERC is to provide help to parents, teachers, and community with students with disabilities.

Estel, a Paden City resident, is such a parent. She said PERC can help understanding and navigating the special education process through training and liaison among school, home, and community.

She also noted that PERC will assist in connecting parents and educators with such community groups and agencies as Easter Seals, the Marshall Autism Training Center, WorkForce WV, vocational rehabilitation centers, and REM.

The center received initial funding through a $7,500 grant from the West Virginia Department of Education. Kehrer already is employed with the county school system and Estel’s position is 20 hours per week.

The board approved the employment of Chris M. Wilson as a countywide substitute teacher and accepted the immediate resignation of Lisa R. Yoho as a non-certified countywide substitute teacher.

A change in assignment was approved for Mary K. Young from halftime custodian II at Valley High School to the same fulltime position at MHS. The board also approved the employment of Jason S. Ensinger as 7/8 grade boys’ track coach at New Martinsville School for the 2008-09 WVSSAC season.

An out-of-state trip request was approved from Robert W. Shaver, county technology coordinator, to attend the National Educational Computing Conference in Washington, D.C., June 28-July 2. The trip will be funded from a state grant.

In addition, the VHS senior class and advisors will attend the annual Physics and Science Day at Kennywood Park May 19. Advisors are Kristina Earley, John Kocher, Carolyn Hizer, and Joan Kerns.

The board approved a request from Brittany Hawkins, a senior at Hundred High School, to leave school at 11:20 a.m. for the remainder of the school year, providing she accumulates sufficient credits to meet graduation requirements. That request was endorsed by HHS Principal Sam Snyder.

Before adjourning, the board added Miranda Wyckoff to the list of approved chaperones/volunteers at HHS for the current school year.

The board has two regularly scheduled meetings for April, on the 6th and 20th, beginning at 7 p.m. at the board offices, 333 Foundry Dr. New Martinsville.

In addition, the board has called a special meeting for April 21 for transfer hearings. That meeting will be followed immediately by a continuation of its March 16 statutory meeting to approve the levy rates.