WELLSVILLE - The Wellsville Board of Education held its first regular meeting of the year, which was preceded by a brief organizational meeting, Monday evening in the office of district Superintendent Richard Bereschik.
The board voted to retain Karen Dash as president and Ed Bauer as vice president. Tom Brophey was also retained as legislative liaison, and the committee assignments from 2012 carried over. They include: Ed Bauer and Karen Dash on the Buildings and Grounds/Cafeteria Committee and Policy Committee, Ed Bauer and Tom Brophey on the Transportation Committee and Finance/Audit Committee, Bill Miller and Mike Cook on the Athletic Committee, Karen Dash and Bill Miller on the Personnel Committee, and Tom Brophey and Bill Miller on the Superintendent's Advisory Board.
Amongst its legislative agenda, the board approved a pair of resolutions that give the superintendent personal authority to hire new employees and to accept resignations from departing employees between meetings of the board of education. The hirings and resignations can be retroactively voted on at the following regular meeting.
Bereschik said the step was being taken to save the necessity of calling a council meeting whenever such personnel matters arise. He cited a current shortage of substitute teachers in the district as an incidence where the new policy could benefit the district. "The board trusts me and my judgment on hiring," he said. "It's just to help us in emergency situations."
In addition to a new football coach, the board also approved the hirings of Randy Thrasher as boys varsity track coach and Mary Wilson as girls varsity track coach. Additional athletic concerns were addressed when the board approved a contract with River Valley Health Services to provide athletic trainer services to the district for the remainder of the school year.
Board members approved a contract with Mainstream Life Solutions of East Liverpool to begin a program aimed at building the character and decision-making capacities of Wellsville students in grades 7 through 12. Company representative Phil McIntosh was present at the meeting and said, "We feel it's an excellent opportunity for the kids to share on a different level about character traits." Bereschik asserted his confidence in the program, citing the positive reception it has received in other local school districts, including Crestview and Columbiana.
The $9,300 cost of the program is being donated to Wellsville Schools by Mark Lamoncha, president and CEO of Humtown Products, a foundry pattern and core company in Columbiana. Lamoncha told the board that Mainstream Life Solutions had presented the corporate program to his company's employees, with very positive results. "The most powerful energy on earth is the what's inside of a person," he said.
In her financial report, district treasurer Coleen Wickham stated that the district was set to receive the first of its share of casino revenues totalling $17,700. Though it has yet to be received, Wickham said the biannual payments to the district's general fund are scheduled to occur in January and August of each year. "It's not much money from the casino, but we will take it," Dash said.
Wickham cited a December starting balance of $1,094,939 in the general fund against revenues of $532,668 and expenditures of $648,452, leaving a balance of $978,305.
Legislative liaison Brophey spoke about various student-related bills that passed in the 129th Ohio General Assembly before its final adjournment at the end of last year, including House Bill 555, which makes changes to the district report cards issued annually, House Bill 543, which expands youth suicide awareness training in schools, House Bill 191, which would allow school districts to measure their years in hours rather than days, and House Bill 143, which requires training for coaches and referees on youth head injuries.
Legislation that was not addressed in this session, as in years past, was the formula for funding public education. The existing funding framework, which is based on local property tax revenues, was declared unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court in 1991. Despite this extralegal status, the state legislature has yet to pass an alternative funding method for public school districts, a situation that left Bauer exasperated. "It's amazing," he said. "Those people are able to defy our supreme court in the State of Ohio by not coming up with this for 20 years, but we have to adhere to it, not knowing what we have to adhere to."
The next board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 18 in the superintendent's office at Daw Middle School.