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Brooke board supports school officers

August 13, 2013
By WARREN SCOTT - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

WELLSBURG - The Brooke County Board of Education has allocated funds needed to enable Brooke County sheriff's deputies to remain in three schools as prevention resource officers.

The board also has moved forward with plans for a special election to determine the fate of an excess levy that has helped to fund the school district for years.

Superintendent Kathy Kidder announced that at a special meeting Wednesday the board agreed to provide $50,000 toward the cost of the three officers at Brooke High School and Follansbee and Wellsburg middle schools.

The officers, who are trained to respond to threats at the schools and encourage communication between students and law enforcement, have been funded by state grants over the years, with the school board and Brooke County Sheriff's Department contributing.

During the summer and breaks the deputies work regular police beats.

This year the sheriff's department only received a $20,000 grant for the officer at Wellsburg Middle School. Officials with the state Division of Justice and Community Services, which awards the grants, cited steep competition for the funds from other law enforcement agencies. About 50 prevention resource officers have been assigned to schools in various West Virginia counties.

Kidder said Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson approached the board for help, pledging $60,000 from his own budget for the three officers.

Board President James Piccirillo said of the allocation, "That's money well spent. We want to ensure the security of our students."

He noted Deputies Larry Palmer, who is assigned to Wellsburg Middle School, and John White, at the high school, recently were named West Virginia Prevention Resource Officer of the Year and PRO Regional Liaison of the Year, respectively.

As part of its meeting Monday, the board agreed to submit for attorney review an order for a special election for the continuation of its five-year operating levy.

Plans call for the election to be held Nov. 9. The levy is expected to generate $6.1 million annually or $30.9 million over the five-year period.

The amount is higher than in previous years, based on higher assessments for property values, but based on the same levy rates as before: 22.95 cents per $100 of Class I property; 45.9 cents per $100 of Class II property; and 91.8 cents per $100 of Class III and IV property.

Pending review by the Brooke County Prosecutor's Office, the levy's terms will be considered by the board at its Aug. 26 meeting.

Over the years the levy has funded staff not covered by the state Department of Education, including teachers, coaches and other extracurricular positions; textbooks, computer software and other instructional materials; maintenance of school facilities and other expenses.

Its passage depends on the support of 50 percent of voters plus one.

Piccirillo said of the levy, "Every (Brooke County school) employee should know how significant this is to our budget and we hope it will be approved 100 percent."

Chad Haught

In other business, the board:

Approved a dress code for its staff. Kidder said the policy replaces one that was vague, stating only that staff should dress professionally or have a clean appearance, and is in line with the policy for students.

Authorized Transportation Director Ron Staffileno to seek bids for two school buses and two special needs school buses he is retiring because of age and wear. Minimum bids of $2,500 each are being sought for the conventional buses and of $3,500 each for the special needs buses.

Approved hiring Amanda Schey as a traveling Title I instructor; Virginia Foresha, substitute teacher; Samantha Nelson, extracurricular bus driver; and Jessica Beasley, lifeguard at Brooke High School Wellness Center.

At Wednesday's special meeting, the board approved the hirings of T.L. Williams as band director at Follansbee Middle School; Alana Huggins, special education teacher specializing in autism at Follansbee Middle School; Linda Hohensil, fourth-grade teacher, Wellsburg Primary School, pending replacement as a special education teacher at Wellsburg Middle School; Doug Lamp, assistant football coach, high school; Patricia Welling, temporary secretary, Colliers Primary School; Phillip Hamilton, extracurricular bus driver; Amy Williams, custodian, high school; Roxanne Mazzone, executive secretary to the assistant superintendent; and Mamie Keegan, cook, Colliers Primary School.

Also approved was the transfer of Erin Steffy from band director at the high school to traveling music teacher, and members accepted resignations from James McFadden as seventh-grade girls volleyball and basketball coach at Wellsburg Middle; Jason Dean, band director at Follansbee Middle School; Emily Beall, assistant athletic director at the high school; Joel Sizemore, aide and mentor at Hooverson Heights Primary School; and Brian Kosikowski, assistant football coach at the high school.

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