Ferry schools talk facilities

T-L Photo/ ROBERT A. DEFRANK Martins Ferry City Schools board members Bill Suto, left, and Scott Ballint review facilities and attendance during Thursday’s meeting.

MARTINS FERRY — No decision was made regarding the suspended treasurer of Martins Ferry City Schools.

The board went into executive session at about 5:40 p.m. Thursday for discussion concerning the possible termination of an employee of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, and to discuss the possible termination of the district’s treasurer, Karen Blake. The board exited the executive session about 6:45 p.m. No action was taken.

Superintendent Jim Fogle and school board members did not comment on either matter.

The full board of Brian McFarland, Dorothy Powell, Scott Ballint, Bill Suto and Nick Stankovich were in attendance.

“We are following policy. That’s the only thing we can do,” Suto said. “We’re following policy and procedures. It could be lengthy.”

In July, board members voted unanimously to place 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 according to the ESC.

In other matters, Suto said the board will meet with Mays Consulting Nov. 15 to discuss possible future repairs to the roof of the three school buildings.

“We have some roof problems,” Suto said. “We have many, many problems. We’re just going to try to meet and find out what we can do to rectify these problems … They’re basically investigating everything for us, what we need to do and how we need to do it.”

He added that the buildings are only about 10 years old and the district has a 25-year warranty.

Fogle said leaks are one issue. He added that the district could not set a timetable or speculate on a price for the work.

“We have roof leaks and this company’s coming in to tell us how to fix it and what the problems are,” Fogle said.

Also, Fogle reported an increase in open enrollment of students who live in other districts but at educated at Martins Ferry City Schools. He said as of Nov. 8 this school year there are 70 open enrolled students compared to last year’s 50.

“Good news travels fast when you do a good job. I believe we do a good job in the classroom,” Fogle said.

“This is as high as it’s been in a long time,” Stankovich said, adding that in the prior years the number has been 25 to 30 students.

The Election Day teacher in-service was also successful, with professional development opportunities for the educators. Several school board members attended.

“We focused on gifted professional development, which deals with modifications for our students who are identified as gifted,” Fogle said.

Work on the athletic field has been stalled due to the wet weather, making the field too soft for extensive work.

“The way the weather has been, the only thing we haven’t been able to do at this time is put the drains in. There is a possibility that we would sod the field and put the drains in after the season to get us through, but it’s still a guessing game. Mother Nature is who we’re against right now. With it being one of the wettest, if not the wettest, years on record, that’s hindered our progress.”

He added that it is possible to bypass the drainage at this time and complete it after the athletic season.

Agricultural Design is doing the renovation at a cost of more than $300,000.

In addition, the district will have the locker rooms painted during the coming Christmas break. School employees will do the work.