Brooke Board of Education Approves Budget

The Brooke County Board of Education on Tuesday approved a $28.9 million budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year and appointed two new principals for Beech Bottom and Wellsburg primary schools for the new school year.

James Hervey, district treasurer, broke the budget down into the following categories: Student instruction and support services, $19,146,079; community service programs, $57,250; general administration, $539,811; school administration, $1,947,070; business administration, $373,539; operation and maintenance, $3,792,090; student transportation, $2,057,080; extracurricular instructional, $274,960; student activities, $122,310; and transfer, $619,955.

Hervey said the budget reflects a loss of about $623,271 resulting from a decrease in assessed property values in the county. The school district receives about 70 percent of property tax collected in the county.

Superintendent Kathy Kidder-Wilkerson said the board has cut a few positions through attrition and a continuing rise in retirements is expected to help offset the loss.

She said the district also is eligible for money from a tax restoration loss fund issued through the state auditor’s office. She said the fund was established to help school districts throughout the state in such instances, but she won’t know the amount Brooke County Schools will receive until October.

The board also approved transfers for Stephanie Blundon, Brooke High School assistant principal, to the principal’s position at Wellsburg Primary and Michalene Mills from principal at Follansbee Middle School to that position at Beech Bottom Primary. Mark Rihel and Richard Whitehead, the schools’ current principals, are retiring.

Board members Brian Ferguson, Jim Lazear and Chad Haught voted for Blundon’s transfer, while board President Jim Piccirillo abstained because she is his sister.

Board member Chad Haught voted against Mills’ transfer, though he knew the other board members supported it, because he was told she’s had a great impact at Follansbee Middle since coming there earlier this year.

Board member Frank Ujcich wasn’t present.

Mills came to Brooke County Schools from Hancock County, where she taught at Liberty and Weirton Heights elementary schools and was named Teacher of the Year in 2011 and 2012. She also has served as coordinator of school improvement technical assistance for Regional Education Service Agency 6.

She is a national board-certified teacher.

Blundon worked for many years in Ohio school districts, serving as principal of Pleasant Hills Elementary School, intervention specialist for Stanton Middle School and Edison High School and dean of students at Edison High.

She was hired as assistant principal at Brooke in 2012.