No decision on treasurer

T-L Photo/ ROBERT A. DEFRANK Martins Ferry City School Board members Dorothy Powell, left, and Bill Suto review matters during Thursday’s meeting.

MARTINS FERRY — The disposition of the Martins Ferry City School District treasurer remains unresolved after the school board went into executive session for more than two hours Thursday to discuss her termination, among other things.

After going back into regular session, the full board of Brian McFarland, Dorothy Powell, Scott Ballint, Bill Suto and Nick Stankovich approved the position of a one-on-one aide for a high school student with special needs. The board then adjourned.

The board said the other matter discussed in executive session was the possible termination of a personal educational aide.

In July, board members voted unanimously to place Treasurer Karen Blake on paid administrative leave. No reason was given and Superintendent Jim Fogle gave no further comment Thursday. Ohio’s Online Checkbook, a public service provided by the Ohio Treasurer’s Office, said Blake’s salary in 2017 was $89,981.

Since then, the district has used Dana Garrison as an interim treasurer. She is contracted through the Eastern Ohio Educational Service Center and does not have regular hours. According to Martins Ferry school officials, she works about two days a week. Her salary is $40 per hour, ESC said.

Prior to going into executive session, the board tabled approving the five-year financial forecast until the October meeting to allow further research into a question by Ballint about amounts for operating transfers, with an expected decrease from 2018 to 2019. Garrison said this could reflect money place in funds to be set aside.

Garrison said the district has until the end of October to pass the forecast. She said the she projected a yearly increase of 2 percent for salaries. She also said the district is expected to be in the black in all five of the forecasted years.

Board President Nick Stankovich thanked her for the early completion of the forecast.

The board also approved appropriations for 2019 totaling $23,564,107.66. Garrison said the board would have to approve the five-year forecast before she could say what revenues are expected to be for 2019. As of May, the district is projected to close out 2018 with an excess of $5,157,132 and to close 2019 with an excess of $5,532,463.

“It’s very promising,” Fogle said. “Again, it’s just a forecast, but our financial situation looks very, very good at this time. We’re projected to be in the black throughout that five-year forecast.”

Regarding the personal aide for the student with special needs, Fogle said the salary would be slightly more than $15 per hour. He also said no one has been selected for the position yet.

The board approved spending $1,200 for high school microscopes to replace the current 30-year-old ones.

Fogle said renovations to the baseball and softball fields have been delayed because of recent bad weather, but work has resumed. The projected completion date remains in October.

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