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Board Approves Budget

By Staff | May 19, 2010

In the photo are some of the new members of the 25 Year Club who were recognized May 17 by the Wetzel County Board of Education. First row, from left, are Jeff Hohn, Fay Shank, Ed Clark, and Donna Jones; second row, Jeanine Watson, Board Members Linda Ritz and Amy Dieffenbauch; third row, Board Members Mike Blair, Willie Baker, and Bob Patterson; top row, Jay Yeager, assistant superintendent of schools; and Superintendent Bill Jones. Absent when the photo was taken were Jimmy Briggs, Pam Chapman, Jo Chapple, Kathi Schmalz, Craig Schneid, Earl Shreve, and Joni Yoho. Briggs and Chapple will retire at the end of this school year. (Photo by Bill Abraham)

The Wetzel County Board of Education adopted a $28.6 million budget for the 2010-11 school year May 17, following a time allotted for a public hearing at which no one appeared to comment. The budget includes almost $22 million for salaries and related costs, but does not include potential expenditures for retired employee benefits, or OPEB.

The responsibility for funding OPEB is the subject of a lawsuit brought by about every county school board in the state against the West Virginia Legislature.

About 60 percent of the funding for the budget will come from the legislature, while the remainder is funded by local taxes and restricted state and federal monies.

The board also voted to restore a previously-deleted kindergarten teaching position at Long Drain School and approved Olivia L. Gump for that position. Gump had been re-assigned to the second grade at the school.

The first reading of a new policy on student cell phones was tabled on motion of Board Vice President Bob Patterson. However, a revised policy-job description was approved for supervisor of transportation/chief mechanic that added some responsibilities. Included were the scheduling of mechanics “to maximize work time” and the scheduling of busses for state inspections.

Assistant County Superintendent of Schools Jay Yeager introduced 13 new members of the county’s 25 Year Club, two of whom will be among the some 30 who will retire at the end of this school year. Although not all were present, the new members included Jimmy L. Briggs, a custodian at New Martinsville School, where he started in 1984. Briggs is one of those who will retire at the end of June.

The other new member of the club who will retire this year is Josielea V. Chapple, presently a kindergarten teacher at Short Line School. Chapple also has taught at the former Steelton and Reader elementary schools.

Other new club members were: Pam Chapman, who has taught health and physical education at Magnolia High School and NMS, where she is 7/8 grade girls’ track coach. Chapman also was approved for the same coaching position next year and as head volleyball coach at MHS;

Kristina L. Earley, who began as a kindergarten aide in 1983, has been special education teacher at Valley High School for the past 25 years;

Jeffrey E. Hohn, who worked as a substitute teacher before beginning his teaching career with Wetzel County Schools at LDS. He has been a coach in several sports and is presently assistant baseball coach at Paden City High School;

Donna K. Jones, a VHS graduate, began teaching in county schools in 1973 at the former Smithfield Elementary School. She presently is guidance counselor at PCHS;

Kathi D. Schmalz, currently principal of MHS, began teaching at SLS in 1992 and was appointed the school’s assistant principal in 2004;

Craig A. Schneid began his teaching career in Wetzel County as a social studies teacher at MHS in 1984 and coached several sports including track at MHS, where he won several state championships. Now a teacher at NMS, he was recently made an Honorary Knight of the Golden Horseshoe for the large numbers in his West Virginia studies classes who have become Knights of the Golden Horseshoe;

Margaret F. Shank, now principal of NMS, began teaching in Wetzel County schools in 1983 as a special education teacher. She became NMS principal in 1995 and served briefly as county superintendent of schools;

Earl G. Shreve, a graduate of MHS, began working as a custodian at NMS in 1984 and holds that position today;

Jeanine K. Watson, a graduate of HHS, began working in 1985 as a music teacher and later became band director at HHS and LDS, where she is at present;

Joni L. Yoho started working for the Wetzel County School System in 1984 as a teacher at LDS, where she still teaches; and

Glen E. “Ed” Clark, an MHS graduate, began as a custodian at that school in 1984 and still retains that position.

Clark later asked the board’s help in purchasing a chair for his use when he scans lunch students at MHS, which is part of his job description. He explained that the monitor for the scanning device sits too high to be seen from a regular chair. He also addressed the board on an issue related to community relations.

New members of the 25 Year Club were presented with a custom glass paper weight in the shape of a triangle, inscribed to commemorate the occasion and mounted on bases made by the woodworking class at Hundred High School.

Some school vendors also helped support the event: United Dairy, Bowles Rice law firm, Staley Communications, H. E. Newman, and Marietta Truck Sales and Service.

Before adjourning, the board approved a large number of personnel matters, including the June 30, 2010, resignation of Benjamin R. McPherson as technology coordinator at VHS. McPherson was approved last board meeting as principal at the school, effective July 13 of this year. Joshua R. Weekley will succeed McPherson as technology coordinator at the beginning of the 2010-11 school year.

The board scheduled its next regular meeting for 6:30 p.m. at the county office building, 333 Foundry St., New Martinsville.