Ferry BOE focuses on programs

MARTINS FERRY – The Martins Ferry School District Board of Education held a brief year-end meeting to review planned improvements and progress in locating further funding.

Superintendent Dirk Fitch reported the district was taking the initial steps to apply for a 21st Century Grant, which would allow for the re-institution of after school programs at the elementary level.

The school might offer services such as assistance with homework, physical fitness, snacks, and after school reading programs to help pupils through this developmental stage. The program could also benefit families in which parents work throughout the day.

Fitch added that a desire for after school care has been one of the issues brought up in surveys about the drop in open enrollment.

“That was a big issue for a lot of folks,” he said. “Hopefully through this 21st Century Grant we’ll be able to run an after school program every day.”

Board members noted that a prior after school program had been very successful, but funding issues had halted it.

The grant is due in March.

Fitch also noted the district was able to pick up another $11 thousand through the River Schools Initiative. The initiative includes school districts in Bellaire, Martins Ferry, Shadyside. Bridgeport, and the career center. Fitch said the grant funds may be discontinued but the districts are looking into other funding sources.

The district is looking into the purchase of additional bus cameras. Eight are already outfitted with five more planned. Fitch said they also plan to place a camera in the middle school and high school hallways and outdoor cameras in the student parking lot to cover speeding issues.

A fingerprinting machine has also been purchased, and police officers are on campus for part of the day.

Board accepted the resignation of George Kepreos, seventh grade volleyball coach, effective Dec. 10, 2012. Board accepted the resignation of Ken Ackerman, bus driver, effective Jan. 3, 2013.

Board motioned to employ Stephen Knotts as a substitute teacher for the 2012-13 school year. Board will also employ Fitch, Greg Steele, and Paul Matuska as volunteer indoor track coaches. Board approved the employment of Jim Cecil, substitute bus driver. Michael Rose, volunteer wrestling coach effective immediately.

Board motioned to approve updates and revisions to the district by-laws and policies.

Board approved mileage compensation for board members at 56.5 cents beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

Board appointed Robert Zilai as representative to the Belmont-Harrison Vocational School Board.

Board approved a three day unpaid leave of absence for Barb Ballint.

Board approved continuing to contribute to the OSBA Legal Assistance Fund.

Board approved an emergency bid for the purchase of bleachers at the track facility.

Board approved the 2012-13 indoor track season.

Board re-appointed Susan Tolbert Dunbar and Mary Edith Sambuco to the library board for a seven-year term, from Jan. 1, 2013-Dec. 31, 2019.

Board approved Bonnie Beetham’s attendance of the 2013 Conference for Ohio First Grade Teachers, Jan. 16-17, 2013 in Columbus.

The school board extended greetings to Boy Scout Troop 52, from Colerain.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com