Ferry schools focus on fiscal responsibility

MARTINS FERRY The Martins Ferry Board of Education met Monday evening to review several matters of faculty preparation and cost savings for the next school year.

The board accepted the five-year forecast. Superintendent Dirk Fitch noted that the district was still awaiting the release of the state budget. Meanwhile, the schools must concentrate on fiscal responsibility.

“We’re going to have to watch every nickel and dime and try to make good decisions that are sound for our students’ education, but still fiscally responsible for the voters,” he said. “We’re like everyone else we’re waiting to see the budget come through.”

In other matters, the board will look at issues of transportation. Fitch noted many of the buses are older and have high mileage.

“We’ve got to look at possibly replacing buses,” he said. “That’s an excessive cost, but one you need for the safety of our students. We’ll be looking at those purchases.”

The board will also continue look at retiring teachers and decide whether to replace them or combine the post if possible.

In other matters, Fitch reported initial positive results from the preliminary OGTs. More definite numbers will be proved to the board when available.

Board approved a cost-reduction plan. This will involve reducing the six kindergarten classes to five. Fitch noted that regulations no longer call for class sizes to be limited to 15 pupils. Fitch said class size would be about 22 pupils.

“We just think as a cost-saving measure without hurting our students’ education we’re going to cut the classes down to a total of five instead of six,” he said.

Also, the two guidance staff members will be reduced to one.

In addition, the board declared its intent to cooperate with OME-RESA ITC. This includes the Omer-RESA in service for $200 per year. The co-op also includes the cooperative purchasing program, which encompasses classroom/office maintenance, health, science, and media technology products. The program also includes bus bids, cafeteria food and small wares, library book discounts and the electric program. In addition, the co-op offers OME-RESA legal services.

The board received a letter of congratulations from Senator Lou Gentile on the district’s Excellent rating.

In matters of employment, board approved Jeff Sabatino was approved as head varsity boys’ basketball coach effective immediately for the 2013-2014 school year.

The board approved Joe Mamone as a volunteer football coach and Jill Myers as high school student council advisor for the 2013-2014 school year. Taylor Yoder was approved as a middle school physical education teacher effective beginning the 2013-2014 school year.

Board members approved Sabatino’s resignation as high school social studies teacher effective May 31, and Joe Mamone as varsity assistant football coach effective immediately.

In other matters, the board recognized Master Teachers Kelley Bandi, Pamela K. Becca, Bonnie Beetham, Stacey S. Bliss, Joyce E. Everson, Lana Mae Jennette and Paul F. Matuska.

“Those folks all went above and beyond,” Fitch said.

The board also approved the tentative graduating class of 2013, a total of 116 students.

  • The board approved the Chy-Phy trip to Orlando, Fl and the Florida Keys March 2014.

The board approved one day of unpaid leave for Cathy Coole May 17, 2013.

Board members authorized 2013-2014 membership in the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

The board motioned to defer to the county auditor’s decision regarding the approval of property variation for Timothy Jennings, Margaret and Mary Jane Roberts, John E. and Bonnie K. Primovic, Shawn and Carrie Gralinski, Rita D. Cochran, Barbara and Thomas Isiminger, Shawn Martin, Margaret Mysona, Eastern Ohio Newspapers, Inc.

The board approved adopting the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System and the Ohio Principal Evaluation System effective 2013-2014.

Board members approved extended sick leave for Kristen Steele and an unpaid leave of absence for the remainder of the 2013-2014 school year.

The next board meeting will be held June 15, 5:30 p.m.

The July board meeting was rescheduled for July 15, 2013, 5 p.m.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com