School board adds days for students, makes staff changes

WELLSBURG – It’s been a busy week for the Brooke County Board of Education, with the board meeting twice to consider the addition of instructional days to make up for cancelations and cuts to staff resulting from declining enrollment.

The board on Monday approved the conversion of April 14-18 and 21, May 30 and June 2 from days that had been slated for a spring break and staff development to instructional days of which students must attend.

May 29 had been slated to be the last day of school but the school year has been extended until June 2, with students attending in the morning only.

The June 2 date is the latest the school calendar may be extended this year. Next year, county school districts will be required to make up not only cancelations but also delays and early dismissals.

The board on Thursday met to consider cuts to staff and transfers, many of them attributed to changes in enrollment. Assistant Superintendent Marty Bartz said the cuts are based on seniority. He noted a few of the terminated staff members were paid with federal Title I or special education funds and may be reinstated when those funds are awarded later this year.

Under state policy each staff member receiving a reduction in force notice is entitled to a hearing before the board, and those hearings were held Thursday.

Bartz said with regret, the board cut the following faculty: Megan Moroz and Thomas Faessel, English teachers at Follansbee Middle School; Samantha McCoy, kindergarten teacher at Colliers Primary School; Paul Gogikar, special education teacher at Follansbee Middle; Amanda Schey, Title I teacher at Franklin Primary School; Michelle Casto, aide at Hooverson Heights Primary School; and Tyler Pepe, virtual Spanish teacher at Follansbee Middle.

Bartz said the virtual Spanish class, in which pupils complete the course online, won’t be cut. He said the board is required to advertise for a certified Spanish teacher for the course.

Bartz said no certified Spanish instructors applied for the job when it was advertised. He said Pepe may become certified and can be considered among any qualified applicants for the position.

Bartz noted the recently terminated staff must be considered first if other staff retire from positions for which they are qualified. He added they also could be hired back if changes in enrollment require additional staff.

The board also will consider the following staff for transfers: Deana Marsh, math teacher at Brooke High School; Brianna Lauttamus, English teacher, high school; Joseph Wade, social studies teacher, high school; Carrie Klash, Amanda Vice and Jennifer Turbanic, special education teachers; Tom Bruney, alternative learning center instructor; Jennifer Perloski, kindergarten teacher, Colliers Primary; and Carrie Cipoletti and Debbie Rea, Title I instructors.

Earlier this week the board approved the hiring of Doug Lamp, Johnny Schupbach and Charles Taylor as assistant football coaches at the high school, Karen Snoderly as a bus driver and Stephanie Alexander as a substitute teacher.

In other business, the board announced the second public meeting on the 2014-15 school calendar will be held at 6 p.m. March 12 at the board office, 1201 Pleasant Ave.

An online survey on the calendar has been closed, but the board will continue to accept written comments, which can be sent by March 5 to: School Calendar Comment, Brooke County Board of Education, 1201 Pleasant Ave., Wellsburg, WV 26070.

Rob Robinson, facilities supervisor and coordinator of the public input effort, said there may be two or three possible calendars for public review at the meeting.

Following input from a committee representing staff members, the board will select a calendar to be submitted to the state Department of Education by May 1.

A new state law requires public school districts to accept input on the calendar, including whether they would support a year-round calendar with 15-day breaks in fall, winter and spring and a 30-day break in July.

Beginning the school year earlier to establish a full semester for high school students that would end by Christmas break and whether there should be longer or shorter Thanksgiving and spring breaks are among issues that have been discussed.

Robinson said 836 people, a majority of them parents, responded to the online survey.

He noted school board members have said they don’t believe they’ll adopt a year-round school year, referred to state school officials as a balanced calendar. But he said he was surprised to find about a third of the online responders supported it.

The public also has been invited to weigh in on how cancelations, delays and early dismissals may be made up.

Robinson said the state Department of Education will allow school districts to make up for delays and early dismissals in various ways. They may add minutes to the school day in advance to make up for the lost time, should it occur, or add minutes after the delays or cancellations have occurred. Or they may convert staff development days and days allotted for teachers to prepare for the school year or finalize grades at the end of the year. The latter days previously could not be used.

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