Martins Ferry BOE kicks off 2018

T-L Photo/ ROBERT A. DEFRANK New Martins Ferry City Schools Board of Education member Bill Suto, from left, reviews business with member Scott Ballint and board President Nick Stankovick during a Monday meeting.

MARTINS FERRY – The Martins Ferry City Schools Board of Education welcomed two new board members, Bill Suto and Brian McFarland, during its first meeting of 2018.

Nick Stankovich took his seat as president of the school board and discussed the formation of committees, adding that the goal was to give each board member some experience in every element of the district.

“They will be updating their committees every board meeting,” he said. “We’ve got two good new board members, we’ve got a new treasurer and a good superintendent and we’re moving forward.”

Board member Scott Ballint will chair the athletic and negotiations committees, and will serve on the public liaison, EMIS and audit committees; McFarland will serve on the athletic and policy committees, and chair the finance and personnel committees; Suto will chair the finance and building and grounds committees and serve on the negotiations and operations committees; Stankovich will serve on the personnel, EMIS and building and grounds committees and chair the curriculum and operations committees; and Dorothy Powell will chair the public liaison and curriculum and audit committees and serve on the policy committee.

Suto said he looks forward to working with fellow board members.

“We had three things in common: We want to do what’s best for the kids, we want to do what’s best for finances and we want to do what’s right,” he said. “I believe with all the different personalities we have on the board … we’re going to be the best.”

Brian McFarland added he expects to see positive growth in the district.

Superintendent Jim Fogle commented on expectations for 2018.

“It’s shaping up real well. We’ve got a couple of new board members who were sworn in tonight. We’re looking forward to working with them in the future — both Martins Ferry guys, through and through. They’ll definitely do things for all the right reasons,” Fogle said.

The district will also participate in the Crisis Text of Ohio line through the Ohio Department of Mental Health, which provides help and advice to individuals. There will be no expense to the district, but the district will endorse and promote the program.

“They can text a code and someone will respond to them if they’re in a crisis, no matter what that crisis is,” Fogle said. “They try to help the person, direct them to help, whatever the situation might entail.”

The board also approved the district’s tax budget for 2018. Treasurer Karen Blake said the budget would align with the five-year forecast completed in September. Blake added she does not expect the district to be operating in the red until 2022, but that is subject to change depending on conditions.

The board also voted to accept a $2,500 donation from the Fitch brothers for the Foundation Fund.