PARKERSBURG - A school board member offered an olive branch Monday to an area principal, saying he never intended to question the administrator's integrity.
During a Local School Improvement Council presentation to the Wood County Board of Education, board member Jim Fox asked Parkersburg South High School Principal Tom Eschbacher for a chance to work out their differences.
"We've had a number of issues in recent months," Fox said. "I want to make it perfectly clear ... we're not questioning your professionalism or your integrity."
Parkersburg South High School Principal Tom Eschbacher spoke Monday to the Wood County Board of Education during the school’s annual Local School Improvement Council presentation. (Photo by Michael Erb)
Last month Eschbacher and Fox clashed after the board member demanded an explanation as to why Parkersburg South's cross country team did not compete in a local charity cross country event, forgoing a $1,000 donation in the process and instead spending $600 to take students to another event.
The school board also spent most of August scrutinizing the hiring process Eschbacher and other school officials used in recommending teacher Donna Dixon as the school's head varsity wrestling coach. The board refused to vote on the recommendation during an Aug. 13 meeting, finally approving her hire after it was brought back to the board a week later.
In a written response to the board's inquiry about cross country, Eschbacher criticized the board for constantly questioning his and other administrators' decisions at their schools.
Fox said Monday he believed their differences could be resolved.
"I'd like to publicly invite you to a lunch so we can sit down and work out some of these issues," Fox said.
"Name a place and time, buddy," Eschbacher said.
Fox said he would be calling Eschbacher today to arrange a meeting.