Ohio County Schools Inks Training Deal With Wheeling Hospital

Photo by Joselyn King Ohio County Schools Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones, left, and board member David Croft review documents during Wednesday’s board of education meeting.

Ohio County Schools will partner with Wheeling Hospital to make certain all sporting events in the school district have an athletic trainer on duty.

The Ohio County Board of Education approved Wednesday the agreement, through which they will pay the school district $25,000 annually to provide medical trainers. That is about half the salary of the athletic trainer, with the hospital paying the remainder, according to Superintendent Rick Jones.

Jones said the district has one part-time athletic trainer, Lisa Berner who also works full-time as a special education teacher at Wheeling Park High School. He explained it is “extremely rare” for an educator to also have an athletic trainer certification.

Berner cannot be at every sporting event, so the school district has posted the position of assistant athletic trainer for the past two years to find her help. They could not find someone to take the position.

“There aren’t any people who want to work part-time for Ohio County Schools as an athletic trainer,” he said.

The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission requires an athletic trainer be present during football games, and Ohio County Schools “chooses to cover everything,” according to Jones. The district has been paying trainers from outside the district to come in for sporting events, and this can be costly, he said.

Another option for the district was to hire an athletic trainer and pay them as a teacher, but he said he did not believe that would be the best use of school district resources.

Jones said he discovered some Pittsburgh-area school districts contract with hospitals for athletic training services.

Ohio County Schools approached Wheeling Hospital for the agreement, according to Jones.

The position of athletic trainer will be posted through the hospital for a job at Wheeling Park High School.

“We won’t have to add it to our formula, and they will cover all our events,” he said.

The burden will be lessened on Berner, Jones said.

Also on Wednesday, board members accepted the resignation of WPHS assistant principal Kenneth Sexton. Sexton has served in the position since being hired in September 2015. The position was posted Wednesday, with the deadline to apply on Tuesday.

Drew Villani, previously a teacher at WPHS, was approved to be the next assistant principal at Triadelphia Middle School.

The board also approved the retirement of WPHS physics teacher Patrick Durkin. Durkin has been an employee with Ohio County Schools for 38 years.

The meeting began Wednesday with a moment of silence for former United Steelworkers Local 1190 President Santo Santoro, the father of Ohio County Schools Superintendent Kim Miller. Santoro died on Saturday.

Board president Zach Abraham was not present at Wednesday’s meeting, but participated by phone. Attending were board members Sarah Koegler, Molly Aderholt, Christine Carder and David Croft.

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