Martins Ferry Schools welcome resource officers

Board of education holds first meeting of the new year

T-L Photo/ ROBERT A. DEFRANK Martins Ferry City Schools Superintendent Jim Fogle and Treasurer Karen Blake review business during Monday’s board of education meeting.

MARTINS FERRY — During its first meeting of the new school year, the Martins Ferry City School District Board of Education took note of several changes, including the addition of two resource officers.

Officers John Young and Joe Perry were both hired through the Martins Ferry Police Department and began their duties at the start of the school year. One will be stationed at the elementary school, while the other will be at the middle school and high school.

“We’ve welcomed our school resource officers and they’ve been a great addition. They’ve paid dividends already with assisting our building administration,” Fogle said. “I’m very happy to have them on board. …We’re real happy with how they’ve stepped right in, learned the routine. They’re getting to know the students, building trust with the students.”

Fogle said the advantage of having dedicated resource officers include visibility and the ability to familiarize themselves with the students and the issues they face. He added both officers attended special training in Columbus during the summer.

“They are going to implement several programs and they’ll work directly with the students and actually go into the classroom for some of those programs, one of the big ones being drug awareness and prevention.”

The resource officers will work 194 days out of the year, and are being contracted on a year-to-year basis. Fogle could not say how many years the budget will support the officers.

“It’s for as long as we can possibly do it,” he said.

Fogle said this was the first time in nearly a decade the district has contracted to have resource officers, but he added school officials recognize the world has become less safe.

“Providing a safe environment for our students and staff is our main objective,” he said.

In other matters, Fogle reported the school year has begun on a positive note.

“It’s been a great start to the school year. The teachers prepared really well for this up and coming year, and we’re back to business as usual,” Fogle said.

Fogle mentioned school bus safety programs will also be held this week at the elementary school.

Students will also notice the new field, since the district has recently reinstalled a new turf football field at the stadium on First Street.

In addition, the final preparations have been completed for tonight’s debate between the four Democratic candidates for governor at Martins Ferry High School. Fogle noted a packed house is expected.

“It’s sold out,” he said, adding that the capacity of the venue is 300. “We’ll begin hopefully at 7 p.m. and all four Democratic candidates will be present.”

In other matters, the board approved the resignation of Paul Matuska as the seventh-grade volleyball coach, effective immediately.

The board also approved the employment of Taylor Yoder as winter athletic trainer, Barbie McKeegan as the first-semester high school/middle school Study Table monitor, and Amanda Funari as a substitute teacher for the 2017-18 school year.

Among noncertified personnel, the board approved the resignation of Brittany Burch as seventh-grade girls’ basketball coach, effective immediately.

The board also approved the 2018 annual appropriations for a total of $22 million. Treasurer Karen Blake noted a 4-percent increase in salaries and a 9.2-percent increase in health insurance premiums, as well as a 2-percent increase for purchasing services.

The board also rescinded the district’s membership in the Coalition for Equity & Adequacy and will instead utilize the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools as its local advocate. Board members noted the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools has the support of the local Education Service Center.