Ferry schools ponder expanding drug-free club

MARTINS FERRY — Principal Michael Delatore of Martins Ferry Middle School proposed to board of education members Monday that administrators and faculty join the school’s Drug Free Club in volunteering for drug screenings.

He spoke about the importance of transparency and the show of trust on the part of the school board and administration that could strengthen bonds between school and community.

Another issue discussed Monday was open enrollment. Superintendent Jim Fogle noted the current number of students, including pre-schoolers, was 1,487, which is an increase from last year. However, this was a decrease from the more than 1,600 students who attended Martins Ferry Schools when the district first moved to the hilltop campus. Fogle noted it’s a situation shared by many school districts in the Ohio Valley.

In an effort to reach out to the community and attract students, board members approved a contract with an area radio station to run advertising in March for $399. The board is considering approving another contract with Comcast to rerun a commercial ad starting in March. The year-long ad would cover St. Clairsville and Martins Ferry. The cost is expected to be $15,999.

“We’re constantly looking at ways that we can not only promote what we’re currently doing here in the district in our programs that we have in place. We’re constantly researching technology, ways to include our STEM projects,” Fogle said.

In other matters, the board approved Melissa Duvall, Jacob Berger and Dirk Fitch as substitute teachers for the remainder of the 2016-17 school year.

Fitch was also approved as a substitute maintenance worker and substitute custodian effective March 1. Steven Perdok Jr. was approved as a substitute bus driver and Pamela Hough as a substitute custodian and secretary.

The board also approved:

– A service agreement with Fitch for IDEA-B services for St. Mary’s School and to provide special education services at St. Mary’s School through the Martins Ferry School District.

– The payoff of a lease-purchase agreement with Ayers Limestone Quarry for about $36,000. This represents the final payment for the land for the bus garage.

– Board of education committees for 2017. The committees were unchanged.

– The yearly filing of applications for federal programs, the school lunch program and non-public auxiliary services.

– A donation of $3,000 to the Martins Ferry Chamber of Commerce 33rd Annual Academic Banquet, an increase from the prior year’s $2,000.

– A resolution for six students to finish the 2016-17 school year at Martins Ferry City Schools.

– Permission for board member Scott Ballint to approve the renewal of the district’s gas and oil lease with Gulfport if the language of the agreement proves satisfactory.

– Ticket prices for athletic events for the 2017-18 school year, which will remain unchanged.

– A contract for lawn care with Ponzani Landscaping for $3,225.

– The state of Ohio minimum hourly wage increase from $8.10 to $8.15, retroactive to Jan. 1.

– An agreement with WesBanco to create a holding account for the district’s Qualified Zone Academy Bonds loan payments.

The board also entered into an executive session to discuss personnel matters.