To the Editor,
Being a Special Education Teacher, I have to worry about the education and safety of students/children every day. This leads me to say, as a resident of Brooke County, I am concerned by the lack of leadership and decision making by some members of the BOE. The decision by members James Piccirillo, Brian Ferguson and Jim Lazear to vote in favor of a less qualified candidate, Ron Staffileno, instead of one with better credentials, Tim Reinard, as Transportation Director is hard to understand.
The most important aspect of this position is student safety. Transporting students safely or knowing how to handle bullying are examples. Remember the bus aide in Greece, New York being bullied? Parents want a person with experience who understands the importance of safety and protecting their child. Any parent of a child in Brooke County who compares credentials of the two candidates would realize the safety of our children was not considered. Look at the facts; they hired a person with no managerial public service or transportation director experience over one with a proven background as a director and manager in the local transportation industry. Parents should be uncomfortable with this decision. They had the opportunity to hire an individual whose sole priority is for our schools and students. Instead they employ one who now has two full-time jobs, Transportation Director and business owner.
According to the Weirton Daily times, Mr. Piccirillo commented "Ron Staffileno is better qualified." This comment leads me to believe Mr. Piccirillo is not worthy to represent Brooke County Schools. How he thinks being a communications major, bar/restaurant owner and a bus driver for several years are better qualifications than Mr. Reinard's is beyond me. Is it because Mr. Reinard has lived in Weirton and Hancock County most of his life or a personal vendetta?
It is possible Mr. Staffileno will do a fine job. I do not know him (or Mr. Reinard) personally. My point is we depend on our board members to make the right hiring decisions based on facts not possibilities and in the best interests of all children. This did not occur! I commend Superintendent Kidder, Chad Haught and Frank Ujcich for voting appropriately.
In conclusion, nepotism and the "good ole boy network" can be tolerated but not the safety of children. These board members may have relatives who attend Brooke County Schools. If they cannot make the correct decisions for their own family, how can other parent's trust them?
Michael T. Spinella