Wood BOE approves Erickson bathroom funding

Hollie Best, director of food services for Wood County Schools, discusses the expansion of the Community Eligibility Provision program to all schools in the district, which was approved by the board Tuesday evening. (Photo by Wayne Towner)

PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Board of Education approved funding for a project at Erickson All Sports Facility and will be expanding a program to provide free meals at the county’s schools following votes during Tuesday’s meeting.

The board voted unanimously Tuesday to approve $700,000 for the completion of bathrooms at Erickson. The action had previously been approved by the board, but had to be pulled back due to an error in the process. Board President Lawrence Hasbargen had tabled the action at a subsequent meeting to await for an opportunity for the full board to vote on the issue.

The board voted 4-1 to approve the expansion of the district’s Community Eligibility Provision program to include all schools. Since 2012, 14 of the district’s schools have used federal funds through the CEP to provide free breakfasts at all schools and free lunches at some schools. Under the expansion, the free lunches will be available at all of the district’s schools.

Hollie Best, the district’s director of food services, said the program has been successful since it began in helping students identified as at need to obtain free breakfast and lunch meals. The district receives federal reimbursement funds for the CEP program, she said.

In other action, the board approved a recommendation to create the position of assistant principal at Blennerhassett Elementary School. The board also approved several facility projects, including roofing at Jefferson Elementary, brick repair at Hamilton Middle and ceiling repairs at McKinley Elementary.

Mike Fling, assistant superintendent for Wood County Schools, talks about projects at several Wood County Schools at Tuesday’s meeting of the Wood County Board of Education. (Photo by Wayne Towner)

The board also approved the hiring of a clerk through ZMM, the district’s architectural and engineering firm, to oversee the construction and renovation projects at Williamstown Elementary and Williamstown High schools.

The board heard discussion of permitting sixth-graders to play middle school football. Since the shift to the middle school system in Wood County, sixth-graders can participate in other sports at the middle school level through Wood County Schools, but not football. The board said it will add the request to the agenda at a future meeting for discussion and consideration.

Prior to the regular meeting, the board held a closed-door personnel hearing with Personnel Director Sean Francisco. In April, the board voted 3-2 to not renew Francisco’s contract, who also acts as legal counsel for the board. The contract ends June 30. Following the hearing, the board upheld its prior decision.