Long Talk Leads Nowhere for Ohio County Board of Education

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.

WHEELING — A marathon closed-door session about potential property acquisition lasted three hours during Monday night’s meeting of the Ohio County Board of Education, but in the end, no action was taken.

As they met in private, executives representing companies associated with the school district’s upcoming $76 million in construction projects were called in to talk to members. Among them were Ernie Dellatorre, president of the McKinley and Associates engineering firm, and Jon Gasser of CMTA Engineer Consultants.

David H. McKinley, president and managing director of McKinley-Carter Wealth Services, also stayed for the duration of the board meeting — which began at 6 p.m. and ended at about 10:30 p.m. The private session began at about 7:30 p.m.

When members returned, board president Zach Abraham announced no action would be taken following the session, and the public meeting was adjourned.

During the public part of the session, board members discussed the names of people in the Ohio County community who would make good members of an Ohio County Schools bond committee, which would provide guidance to district leaders during the school construction projects.

Among the names discussed were Bernie Dolan, executive director of the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission; former Superintendent George Krelis; and Delegate Erikka Storch, R-Ohio.

They also decided there would be six to eight members on the committee. Final approval of the committee members will take place when the school board next meets at 6 p.m. Sept. 13.

Also during Monday’s meeting, Gasser told members CMTA issued a challenge to staff at all 13 of the school district’s buildings to reduce their energy output by at least 10 percent. Ohio County Schools spends about $150,000 during the summer months on electricity, according to Gasser.

He reported 10 of the 13 schools cut their energy bills this summer, while seven exceeded the 10 percent goal. Topping the list with the highest savings was Steenrod Elementary School at with a 38.1 percent savings; Madison Elementary School at 27.8 percent; and Elm Grove Elementary at 24.4 percent.

Gasser said the savings were achieved by turning off lights and controlling the thermostat, and not through any technological additions. These are planned for school buildings in the coming months.

“We turned off the lights,” Steenrod Principal Michelle Dietrich said. “And it was a little warmer in the school.”

Miller also told the board early enrollment numbers show the district with 223 more students this school year than at the end of August 2017. She said there are presently 5,190 students enrolled in Ohio County Schools.

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