Changing of the guard at UL

BELMONT-Union Local’s new district superintendent Douglas Thoburn took the helm at Thursday night’s board meeting, and it was business as usual with reassignments, transfers and supplemental contracts in preparation for the upcoming school year.

Board members approved the following reassignments: Jill Loase from 8th grade social studies to 7th grade math; Angie Miller from 7th grade math to 8th grade social studies; Suz Pubal from elementary computer teacher to 4th grade teacher; Kelley Hercules from 4th grade teacher to elementary computer teacher; Chris Pagano from New Horizons teacher to high school intervention specialist; Nick Nardo from high school intervention specialist to New Horizons teacher.

These transfers were also approved: Alison Burga from 3rd grade teacher to kindergarten teacher; Christine Smith from 4th grade teacher to 3rd grade teacher; Evelyn Wilson from middle school SBH aide to high school/middle school para professional instructional aide; Karen Large from elementary school 3.5 hour cafeteria assistant to elementary school 6 hour cafeteria assistant.

Supplemental contracts for the 2013-14 year will include: Tracie Yereb and Amie Sketel, junior co-class advisors; Grace Brewer, co-FFA advisor; April Linard, head band director; Sarah Donley, band auxiliary advisor; Julia Schott, junior high cross country coach; Krista Kinney, 8th grade girls basketball coach; Emily Carpenter, junior varsity girls basketball coach.

Eric Snodgrass was approved as a volunteer for the golf program, and Sue Dowdle was approved as a pre-school through 5th grade substitute.

The board approved Marc Stenger as the new vocational agriculture teacher, pending his licensure. The position had been difficult to fill because of its possible one-year term. Other employees approved at the meeting include Chris Tomish and Terri Gaston, summer school teachers; Nick Nardo, summer tutor with New Horizons Youth Center; Shelley Studenc, elementary school 3.5 hour cafeteria assistant.

Members did have discussion about extended service day contracts and determining how many are necessary for the various departments. They finally approved the four recommended by Thoburn for the 2013-14 school year: April Linard, band, 18 days; Kevin Lucas, guidance, 15 days; Grace Brewer and Marc Stenger, Vo-Ag, 20 days each. Thoburn will be reviewing extended service days for the for the following year.

The board decided to table the agenda item regarding payment of $1,719.96 to Katie Fischerkeller for coaching the 2012-13 bowling team. The position was a volunteer position, but Thoburn pointed out that it was the only varsity level coach that was not paid. It was suggested by parents at a previous board meeting that she be paid for her efforts when the team excelled in competition, but the board had not approved a stipend.

“I have an issue with a volunteer being paid,” said board member Dean Lancaster. “I think we should investigate paying the position in the future, but it’s a bad precedent to pay someone hired as a volunteer.”

Members were going discuss it further in executive session and before the next meeting.

Board member Todd Kildow pointed out that members of the community interested in running for the school board should have their petitions in by early August, within two to three weeks. There is at least one position opening. He also suggested that new members receive copies of the “Board Member Code of Ethics” and “Board Member Conflict of Interest” policies, stressing the importance of adhering to those principles especially as community leaders.

The board appointed Ed Stenger and Terry Puperi as the delegate and alternate delegate respectively, to the 2013 OSBA Capital Conference and Trade Show and the annual business meeting Nov. 10-13.

Thoburn announced that the district is accepting public input for federal dollars in the Title I, Title I-D, Title II-A, IDEA-B and Early Childhood Special Education programs. Comments can be directed to the Central Office, located at the high school.

The Union Local Board of Education meets on the third Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. in the high school library.

Valenti can be reached at