Ohio County Schools Makes Last Pitch on Bond Issue

Ohio County Schools Superintendent Kim Miller addresses those attending a public information session Monday night at Wheeling Park High School regarding the $42.2 million bond levy Ohio County Schools will put before voters today. Photo by Joselyn King

WHEELING — Ohio County Schools Superintendent Kim Miller said she is “thinking very positive thoughts” about a $42.2 million school bond issue that she hopes will pass in today’s primary election.

Ohio County Schools plans to make $75.5 million in property improvements. The bond levy — if approved — would provide $42.2 million toward the price tag.

The school district is expected to apply to the State School Building Authority for another $27 million. An additional $6.35 million is expected to be realized through energy-saving improvements in the schools over the next 15 years to defray construction costs.

If the bond passes, an Ohio County taxpayer with a home appraised at $120,000 through the county assessor’s office would pay and extra $71.28 a year in property taxes — or about $6 per month, according to information provided by Ohio County Schools.

One last public informational meeting about the school bond took place Monday night at Wheeling Park High School prior to the Ohio County Board of Education.

Miller told those present that although all schools in the district would receive upgrades with the bond money, the bulk of improvements would take place at WPHS. New science labs are planned for the school. The current media center would be restructured to provide work stations where groups of students could collaborate.

A new entrance to WPHS will be designed, and there would be a new stairwell to provide direct access to the revamped media center area.

The wrestling room would be re-located into a new addition, and the school’s strings classes would take over that area. Lessons on the violin and other instruments don’t take place now in an actual classroom, but rather in a lounge area under a stairwell, Miller said.

“We have students here having class in the hallway,” said Miller. “We can do better.”

In other business, members unanimously approved a bid from Game Time of Fort Payne, Alabama, to provide playground equipment for Woodsdale Elementary School. The cost will be about $175,000, said Principal Ashlea Minch.

She recommended the firm to the school board because it is the supplier of playground equipment to the state of West Virginia, and its design offered better flow for the playground. The company also included in its price the cost of placing required rubber surfacing under the equipment.

Following last week’s Amazing Raise and a fundraising race Saturday at the school, the Woodsdale PTO has raised about $195,000 toward its $200,000 goal. Some of the money already has been paid out for new fencing, asphalt and basketball hoops on the playground.

Board members also voted to provide the school the additional $5,000 needed for the school.

Member Sarah Koegler commended the Woodsdale PTO’s efforts, and she suggested these be studied and replicated at other schools.

Terry Payne, a drivers education teacher at WPHS, also was honored for “going above and beyond” by Principal Amy Minch. She showed video taken by a school bus following the drivers education car as it approached the stop sign near the school, and a fast-moving vehicle coming the other direction ran the stop sign and rolled over.

Minch said Payne’s quick action to brake the vehicle using his controls on the passenger prohibited the drivers education car from being struck. Payne and three students were inside the car.

The board also approved a number of personnel changes.

Among these was the transfer of current Warwood School principal Robb Bauer, who will return to teaching physical education at Middle Creek Elementary School.

Woodsdale Elementary School teacher Susan Brossman will retire effective June 20 after 31 years of teaching in Ohio County Schools.

And William Davis, a school employee for 32 years, is retiring as custodian in the natatorium at WPHS. He also will leave his positions as aquatics director and assistant equipment manager.