Four Schools To Receive Free Meals

WHEELING – The students at four Ohio County public schools are eligible to receive free breakfast and lunch during the upcoming school year through the federal Community Eligibility Option.

Ohio County Schools Child Nutrition Coordinator Renee Griffin announced during Friday’s board of education meeting that Elm Grove, Madison and Ritchie elementary schools and Wheeling Middle School qualified for and will participate in the program.

For a school to qualify, 40 percent of its students must be directly certified by the state to receive free meals. The new program differs from the free and reduced meal program the school system already offers. The new program can reach nearly 1,200 students in those four schools, Griffin said, and will come at no additional cost to the county.

“Our goal is to increase participation with meals countywide,” Griffin said. “And I’m going to work very closely with our principals in order to do this. Ultimately, we would like to be able to feed more children in the county under CEO, as long as we can do so without financial hardship to the county.”

Throughout the state, 35 of 54 county schools systems elected to participate in the program. About 280 schools have enrolled, reaching 90,000 public school students.

In other matters, the board approved the hiring of 13 new teachers for the upcoming school year, as well as the hiring of James Kolb as Bridge Street Middle School Assistant Principal.

They also approved the hiring of Deedra Davis as the Wheeling Park High School head girls basketball coach. She replaces Meredith Dailer, who resigned after five years.

“We always tell our players, ‘It’s a privilege to be able to play a sport at Wheeling Park High School,'” Davis said, “But to me, it’s a greater privilege to be a coach there.”

Ohio County Schools Superintendent Dianna Vargo announced the board will hold another special meeting at 8 a.m. Friday to address remaining personnel issues.

“As you can see from today’s agenda,” Vargo said, Human Resources Director John Jorden and our administrators have been very busy interviewing and putting a staff in place prior to the opening of school. So we will continue that process next week … so that we can continue to improve personnel.”