Ferry schools welcome 2014

MARTINS FERRY The Martins Ferry school board held its reorganizational meeting and regular meeting for January 2014 Monday by swearing in Board Members Joe Lovell, Scott Ballint and Robert Zilai.

Board Member Nick Stankovich was named president of the board, while Board Member Dorothy Powell was named vice president. Meetings will continue the second Monday of every month at 5:30 p.m. Ballint was named representative to the Belmont Harrison Joint Vocational School District.

In his legislative report, Stankovich noted House Bill 334, specifying a school district’s ability to expel students based on safety concerns was being looked at by the state’s education committee. Superintendent Dirk Fitch said the district’s harassment policies were likely already in line with the legislation.

Board also approved the five-year forecast. The Supreme Court’s decision not to take up the matter of a grievance filed by the classified staff regarding a five percent wage reduction will mean an increase of cost to the district of about $180,000.

Fitch reported that their district is among those selected to participate in the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers program. He noted that the district staff is preparing for the test process. The high school with take the Algebra II test on paper, while the middle school will take the ELA at the eighth grade level and math at the fifth grade level online.

“That is new to everybody so we really want our teachers to take a look at how that’s being done,” Fitch said.

He added that the fourth grade will take the ELA on paper. Fitch will attend training Thursday.

Also, a response program dealing with school shooting scenarios will be held Monday.

In other matters, the calendar is changing from days to hours. Elementary from K-sixth grade will have 910 hours as a minimum. Seventh through 12th grades will have 1,001 hours.

“We’re going to try to run the calendar as close to what we do now as possible,” Fitch said. “We’re hoping to start Aug. 18.”

He noted the application would give the district 14 extra days at the high school level, or 1,086 hours. The middle school will have 1,074 hours and 995 1/2 at the elementary school level.

“It’s a good thing,” he said. “There’s no longer calamity days. No longer get the five calamity days. Once you get below that point you have to make up.”

He added that the extra time will also prove valuable since the two-hour delays will be held against the district.

In addition, open enrollment numbers have increased to 43.

Board approved Danielle Reasbeck as a substitute teacher for the 2013-14 school year.

Board also approved Richard Thomas, Vanessa Horstman, Levi Furman and Roseanne Sasak as substitute custodians, Tammy Pickens as substitute cafeteria worker and Amanda Kuhn as substitute cafeteria worker and secretary.

Board also approved professional meetings for Rich Materkoski and Paul Matuska at the OATCC Track Coaching Clinic Jan. 24 in Columbus.

Board approved the new minimum wage rate from $7.85 to $7.95 effective Jan. 1.

Board approved sick days and an unpaid leave of absence for Rhonda Dalton.

Board committees were also approved for 2014. Ballint and Zilai will serve on the athletic board. Stankovich and Ballint will serve on finance. Ballint and Zilai will serve on negotiations. Stankovich and Zilai will serve on personnel. Lovell and Powell will serve on public liaison. Zilai and Powell will serve on buildings and grounds. Lovell and Powell will serve on policy. Stankovich and Lovell will werve on curriculum. Ballint and Powell will serve on audit.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com