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Wetzel Board Holds Special Meeting on 2020 Budget

By Staff | May 6, 2020

Debra Price

The Wetzel County Board of Education held a Special meeting April 30, via YouTube concerning the 2020 Budget. Board President, Warren Grace led the Pledge of Allegiance and member Bill Jones gave the invocation. Superintendent Ed Toman then introduced Financial Secretary, Jeff Lancaster to speak on the budget for 2020.

Lancaster presented a slide show of numbers he has come up with, and spoke on the areas the money was going to be used. Lancaster said that the state funding is based on the enrollment numbers in each county and at the present time the county receives 21 percent funding from the state with the remainder coming from Oil/Gas and Property Taxes.

Lancaster also stated that Wetzel County schools has a 2.1 million budget for 2020 and the RIF’s will save $434,409.23 revenue this year. He said that currently including Professional and Service Personnel, the county is 160 employees over the formula that the state uses for employment purposes per county. Thus far we are not having a problem maintaining those employees in our budget, but things could certainly change with the unknown going on with the Covid-19 virus. As of now the county is in a good position financially, and hopefully this will continue.

He went on to say that the Wetzel County School system is the largest employer in the county. But Wetzel County comes in 23.1 percent below the poverty level in the state. Our county has 15,424 citizens with 3560 of them under the poverty line and 1242 of those numbers are children.

Lancaster said he needs to have the budget balanced and submitted by May 11. The essential projects at Hundred High and Valley High School facilities will continue as planned. But other non-essential projects will be on hold till we see our position is in September on whether to proceed.

Superintendent Toman announced at the end of the meeting that a teacher at Paden City High School, Debra Price, was selected the Teacher of the Year! The Board extended it’s congratulations to Mrs. Price, stating the honor is well deserved.

Special Meeting of the Wetzel County BOE Held on RIF’s

(Board Abolishes three Magnolia Assitant Coaching Positions)

The Wetzel County Board of Education held a Special Meeting on April 27, via YouTube, concerning the Reduction in Forces in the county. After the Pledge of Allegiance and invocation, Board President Warren Grace brought the meeting to order with the first item on the agenda being the Reduction in Forces.

All Reduction in Force and Transfers for the 2020-2021 school year as recommended by the Superintendent, were unanimously approved, with recommended transfer hearings occuring, if requested.

Professional Personnel approved for Reduction-In-Force and placement on preferred recall list, were Lauren Chandler and Townsend Midcap.

Professional Personnel approved transfers were, Shelby Sands, and Hannah Miller.

Service Personnel Reduction-In-Force and placement on preferred recall list approved were, Whitney Wichterman, Stephanie Vargo, Melissa Shimp, Jessica Pittman, Amanda J. Haught, Misty D. Huggins, Julie Gump, Nicole Fortney, Lindsey Dennis, Anna Davis, and Gracie Criss.

Service Personnel Transfers approved were, Melissa Balcerek and Sara Grimm.

Mutual Agreement/Transfers approved for the 2020-2021 School Year were, Meredith Pilant Assignment from Full-Time 1stGrade Teacher at New Martinsville School to Full Time 4th Grade Teacher at New Martinsville School, effective the first day of the 2020-21 School Year, and Leslie Tennant, Assignment from Full-Time 3rdGrade Teacher at Short Line School to Full Time 4thTeacher at Short Line School, effective the first day of the 2020-21 School Year.

The Board approved by a 3-2 vote, Superintendant Ed Toman’s Recommendations as outlined under personnel matters.

The Action and Discussion involved abolishment of three assistant football coaching assignments at Magnolia High School. The discussion was the result of a request by coaching assistants to address the Board about creating uniformity among similar county programs.

The assistant coaches being affected were present voicing their opinions, and represented by Jeremy Radabaugh of the WVEA, who spoke on behalf of the coaches. Radabaugh stated he felt the abolishment was unfair based on experience and qualifications of the coaches. The coaches present were Craig Mason, Eric Mason and Eric McKeever. Craig Mason said he felt the reduction should be by seniority like the other cuts with school personnel.

Superintendent Toman stated that the positions of assistant coaches are awarded by a yearly contract. He said they based their decision on the declining numbers of Magnolia’s football program. Toman said if numbers would increase then they would look at reposting the positions which would be awarded by qualifications. The coaches that are being affected will then have the right to apply for those positions if they choose.

Board member, Jay Yeager requested the board go into executive session to further discuss the matter. After 39 minutes in executive session, the board returned and approved the motion by 3 to 2 vote with board members Bill Jones, Warren Grace, and Jay Yeager voting in the favor of abolishing the positions and Brian Price and Amy Cooley opposing.

The next item on the agenda was the recognition of Teacher of Year and Service Personnel of the Year. Mr. Toman said that they were going to hold off on naming those individuals for now. He said that they will probably name the recipients sometime in May since they have till May 15, to name the teacher of year and June 1, for the Service Personnel of Year.