Schools Anticipate Flood Insurance Hike

Even though they are not sure of the exact amount, Ohio County Board of Education members believe the school district’s flood insurance premiums will be on the rise in the near future.

During the Monday board of education meeting, President James Jorden, along with members Sarah Koegler, Shane Mallett, Gary Kestner and Christine Carder, unanimously voted to hire the Lewis Financial Group to handle the district’s flood insurance.

Although officials were not sure of the exact amount the school currently pays to insure all of its buildings and Wheeling Island Stadium, Superintendent Dianna Vargo mentioned officials anticipate about a 20-percent increase. Several of the district’s buildings, along with the stadium, lie in flood-prone areas such as Wheeling Island and South Wheeling.

Federal legislation signed last summer extended the FEMA-run National Flood Insurance Program through 2017, and was intended to help erase the roughly $25 billion in debt the program has racked up since 2005, largely due to massive numbers of claims related to natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ike and Superstorm Sandy. Many residents are seeing their flood insurance premiums skyrocket to make up for this debt.

In other matters, members acknowledged the efforts of Wheeling Park High School teachers Gail Adams and Meredith Dailer, as well as Bridge Street Middle School teachers Courtney Troullos and Kristy Villani, for attaining National Board Certification.

“Only a small percentage of our nation’s teachers achieve this distinction,” said MaryLu Hutchins, student services director for the school district. “Their experience and knowledge of content enables our students to achieve consistently.”

Members also recognized four WPHS football players for gaining first-team all-state status for the 2013 season. Running back Savion Johnson, linebacker Geremy Paige, quarterback Zach Phillips and lineman Matt Hackathorn earned the status, while Johnson was also elected at The Intelligencer’s 29th Sophomore of the Year.

Also, WPHS Principal Amy Minch presented the school’s 2014-15 curriculum guide. She said the school offers 17 Advanced Placement classes and 17 career and technical programs.