Brooke board approves budget

WELLSBURG – The Brooke County Board of Education on Tuesday approved a $28.9 million budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year and appointed two new principals for Beech Bottom and Wellsburg primary schools.

James Hervey, district treasurer, broke the budget down into the following categories: Student instruction and support services, $19,146,079; community service programs, $57,250; general administration, $539,811; school administration, $1,947,070; business administration, $373,539; operation and maintenance, $3,792,090; student transportation, $2,057,080; extracurricular instructional, $274,960; student activities, $122,310; and transfer, $619,955.

Hervey said the budget reflects a loss of about $623,271 resulting from a decrease in assessed property values in the county.

The school district receives about 70 percent of property tax collected in the county.

Asked how the school district is addressing the drop in revenue, Superintendent Kathy Kidder-Wilkerson said the board has cut a few positions through attrition and a continuing rise in retirements is expected to help offset the loss.

She said the district also is eligible for money from a tax restoration loss fund issued through the state auditor’s office. She said the fund was established to help school districts throughout the state in such instances, but she won’t know the amount Brooke County Schools will receive until October.

The board also approved transfers for Stephanie Blundon, Brooke High School assistant principal, to the principal’s position at Wellsburg Primary and Michalene Mills from principal at Follansbee Middle School to that position at Beech Bottom Primary.

Mark Rihel and Richard Whitehead, the schools’ current principals, are retiring.

Board members Brian Ferguson, Jim Lazear and Chad Haught voted for Blundon’s transfer, while board President Jim Piccirillo abstained because she is his sister.

Board member Chad Haught voted against Mills’ transfer, though he knew the other board members supported it, because he was told she’s had a great impact at Follansbee Middle since coming there earlier this year.

Board member Frank Ujcich wasn’t present.

Mills came to Brooke County Schools from Hancock County, where she taught at Liberty and Weirton Heights elementary schools and was named Teacher of the Year in 2011 and 2012. She also has served as coordinator of school improvement technical assistance for Regional Education Service Agency 6. She is a national board-certified teacher.

Blundon worked for many years in Ohio school districts, serving as principal of Pleasant Hills Elementary School, intervention specialist for Stanton Middle School and Edison High School and dean of students at Edison High. She was hired as assistant principal at Brooke in 2012.

The school board also:

Accepted a bid of $105,850 from Pac-Van Industries of McKeesport, Pa., for a 36-by-60-foot modular building to serve as the alternative learning center. It will be located at 26th Street and state Route 2 in Wellsburg, the site of the former center, which was demolished earlier this year because it lacked adequate space.

The center offers a more structured environment for students with behavioral issues.

It also accepted bids for new carpet and tile to be installed at all Brooke County schools where needed. Carpet Showcase submitted a bid of $17.99 per square yard of carpet and $1.50 per foot for moulding, and Capitol Business Interiors submitted a bid of $3 per square foot of tile and $1.90 per foot for moulding.

Approved the transfers of Natalie Mack from multi-grade reading and language arts teacher at Wellsburg Middle to sixth-grade reading and language arts teacher there and of Amanda Schey from Title I reading instructor at Franklin Primary to first-grade teacher there.

Kidder-Wilkerson was asked why both moves are effective this week. She said state policy calls for the board to post vacancies when they occur, but the two teachers won’t actually fill those positions until fall.

Accepted the retirements of Donna Shalvis, a fifth-grade teacher at Wellsburg Middle; and Michelle Meca, a seventh-grade math teacher at the school; and the resignations of Nathan Marshall as English/theater instructor at the high school and Lakin Weaver as the school’s band director.

Kidder said Weaver has agreed to direct the band through appearances at summer parades and other events until the position is filled.

Approved the hiring of Johnny Schupbach, a physical education teacher at Wellsburg Middle; and Emily Czesztyicki and Elizabeth Fernandez as lifeguards at the wellness center.

Also approved was the hiring of numerous staff members for the extended school year summer program, which will provide additional instruction to special education students and traditional students with difficulties in math and reading three days a week June 9-26.