BOE votes on grandstand project

PARKERSBURG – The Erickson All-Sports Facility Board sent Rick Bush, president of Erickson All-Sports group, to the Wood County Board of Education meeting Thursday to propose naming the grandstands at Erickson All-Sports Facility in honor of Tom E. Eschbacher.

Eschbacher was the principal of Parkersburg South High School. He died of brain cancer on July 18.

The Erickson All-Sports Facility Board voted unanimously to name the $900,000 grandstands project in the honor of Eschbacher at a recent meeting, Bush said.

“We want to do this in honor of a very fine man who always had our back with the Erickson project and was always very supportive,” Bush said.

After Eschbacher’s memorial service, $3,000 in donations were given to the Erickson All-Sports Facility, Bush said.

Policy 1340 of the Wood County Board of Education requires that an employee be out of the school system for two years before a facility or part of a facility can be named after him or her, Bush said.

The two-year clause in Policy 1340 was put in as a safety net at a time when multiple names were being suggested repeatedly for parts of a facility, said board member Tim Yeater during Thursday’s meeting. The policy has no stipulation regarding the death of an employee, though, Yeater pointed out.

The board voted unanimously to form a committee to look into the naming of the grandstands. Yeater volunteered to be the board member on that committee.

The Wood County Board of Education voted unanimously to restore a fourth sixth-grade science teacher position to Williamstown Elementary School for the coming school year.

The sixth-grade science position was removed at the beginning of the summer, and the teacher, Diana F. Leo, was transferred to first grade within the school, said Heather Brethauer, principal of Williamstown Elementary.

When the position was cut, Williamstown was at a 19-1 ratio for science students, Brethauer said. An increase of 10 students over the summer has raised that ratio to 25-1, which is higher than ratios in the rest of the county, Brethauer said.

Leo’s science classes scored a 71 percent on this spring’s WESTEST, Brethauer said. This was the highest scoring class in the state, she said. Her removal to a first-grade position created a strain on the sixth-grade math curriculum as well, as a mathematics teacher would need to teach the science courses instead, Brethauer said.

Brethauer offered to pay for the position through a combination of school funds and PTO funds for the coming year.

The board voted unanimously to move Leo back to her sixth-grade classroom, and the board determined that a previously removed job from the central office will cover the cost of Leo’s presence during the 2014-2015 school year.

The board voted unanimously to enter into executive session at 7:32 p.m. to discuss the pending grievance of Traugh v. Wood County Board of Education. The board remained in executive session until 8:02 p.m.

Traugh was identified only by his last name during the meeting, and board members did not seem to know his first name or his appointment before his termination when asked. Additional details about the case were unknown Thursday evening.

After the executive session, the board of education voted unanimously to rescind the termination of Traugh which occurred on March 18 after a five-day suspension. Traugh was instead placed on unpaid leave through the end of school year on June 12.

The board of education voted unanimously to approve the transfers of Dr. Randy T. Simmons from administrative assistant of human resources to director III of human resources; Kenneth DeMoss from a 225 day position to a 261 day position, remaining assistant principal of Parkersburg High School; Tammy McKnight from coordinator of math and science to assistant director of federal programs; and Mindy Wilson from principal of Waverly Elementary to innovation and improvement specialist.

The board of education voted unanimously to approve the awarding of 14 contracts for roofing projects on county schools.

The project had originally been bid out earlier in the summer, but wording concerns and advice by the state auditor’s office and Prosecuting Attorney Jason Wharton prompted the re-bidding of the project as 14 separate contracts instead, said Assistant Superintendent of Schools Mike Fling.

When recent storms created additional damage and required two schools to be added to the list of needed roof repair, the project was written up as different contracts and bid out anew, Fling said.

The bids were opened at 10 a.m. Thursday and promptly closed, Fling said. The contracts for the 14 projects were awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, which happened to be Tri-State Roofing for all contracts, Fling said. The 14 contracts totaled $788,890.

Roof replacement bids were for Parkersburg South High School building 8 for $375,940 and Emerson Elementary for $86,425.

Roof repair bids were for PSHS building 2 for $9,701; Waverly Elementary for $18,826; Greenmont Elementary for $35,955; Jefferson Center Elementary for $54,196; Vienna Elementary for $12,088; Blennerhassett joined school building for $48,740; Mineral Wells Elementary for $45,158; Kanawha Elementary for $12,242; Franklin Center Elementary for $25,715; Edison Middle School for $28,718; VanDevender Middle School for $22,291; and Neale Elementary for $12,895.