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Ohio County Schools Fills Special Education Positions Via Staffing Agency

photo by: Photo by Shelley Hanson

Ohio County Board of Education members David Croft, left, and President Andy Garber participate in Thursday’s special meeting.

WHEELING – The Ohio County Board of Education approved a few contracts with various special education teachers, some of whom will be offering their services virtually this school year.

During a special meeting on Thursday, Special Education Director Leah Stout said there were a few positions the district had been advertising since May that it was not going to be able to fill traditionally before the start of the school year. To fill those positions in a timely manner, she said the district used a staffing agency called Soliant. She noted this is the first time the district has had to use this service.

One position Soliant filled was a school psychologist, which the district received no applications for, she said. To fill that job, a psychologist from Washington, D.C., was found and will work virtually with those in need.

“Since we have referrals waiting, we need to fill that position,” Stout said.

A deaf and hard-of-hearing teacher was also hired to work virtually for the district. She noted the district has 18 students who are deaf or hard of hearing. A speech therapist, who will be relocating from Maryland, also was hired via Soliant.

Stout noted the positions will continue to be advertised by the district in the hopes of filling them in the traditional manner.

“These jobs will continue to be posted because I can always release the contract,” she said.

Board President Andy Garber noted in West Virginia and across the nation school districts are having a difficult time hiring all the teachers they need.

“The plight of public schools in our area is to find qualified public school teachers,” he said. “The state of West Virginia has been hit particularly hard by this. It’s something we’re going to have to address sometime down the line as to how we’re going to fill our schools with qualified teachers.”

“Teaching is a wonderful profession. I spent 20 years in the classroom,” Garber added. “But the amount of scrutiny teachers are under now, the societal issues we are dealing with are very, very detrimental to the recruitment of teachers and that’s unfortunate. So we’ll stay on top of that.”

In addition to advertising jobs on the district’s website, the district also uses a company called Frontline for recruitment and this company also uses Indeed.

Meanwhile, the board approved hiring the accounting firm of Tetrick & Bartlett to conduct the district’s audits for the next three years for $79,500. The company was the only one to bid on the contract after the district advertised for requests for proposals.

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