Athletics was the focus of Monday’s Board of Education meeting.   Does Weir High need a new baseball field or will  the Edwin J. Bowman meet the team’s needs?   Is Board member Chris Gillette’s discussion of extending baseball to the middle school level appropriate or has he circumvented proper channels in pursuing the matter?

Weir High Baseball Field.

           Former Senator Ed Bowman thinks comparing Oak Glen’s baseball field,  constructed in 2011, to Weir High’s lack of one on campus is “comparing apples to oranges.”  Bowman appeared before the Board  to ask that the Board  consider that a viable baseball field – the Edwin J. Bowman Field –   exists  in Weirton, before expending taxpayer dollars to construct a new baseball field at the Weir High Campus.  Bowman, chair of the Weirton Park Board,  said the Bowman field has long-served Weir and Madonna High Schools and said the annual cost to the County is  only $3,500.00.    He said a recently acquired $122,000.00 Land & Water Conservation Fund Grant will be used for improvements which will include making the facility ADA compliant; extending the dugouts; and refurbishing the infield.  He said the scoreboard and sound system had been updated and the Board of Education had donated $12,000.00 toward the project.

          “Our baseball field matches up to every baseball field in the area,” he said questioning why the Board would expend taxpayer dollars to construct another field on Weir High Campus.

         Board of Education member Chris Gillette, who also serves as President of the Weir High Boosters, had requested an accounting of what was spent on athletic facilities at Oak Glen and Weir High.  Bowman pointed out that Oak Glen’s “Field of Dreams” was made possible through legislative digest funds and contributions of local businesses and residents and prior to the Field of Dreams” Oak Glen’s baseball team was playing in a cow pasture

Baseball extended to Middle School?

      Gillette, who participated by phone, had asked that “middle school athletics” be placed on Monday’s agenda.  He told the Board that he had been talking with 22 Weir Middle School parents who had expressed interest in  baseball being added as a middle school sport.

         In response to questioning as to whether he had explored whether there was interest at Oak Glen, Gillette said he had no contacts in the Northern part of the County.

         Superintendent Danny Kaser cautioned Gillette that surveying interest was not the way to go about the decision-making process. Kaser likened the discussion as to inviting people to a polo game and not having any horses and said that the decision-making process involves the principals of the schools, the athletic directors and the Secondary School Athletic Commission.   Also, involvement of the School’s Transportation Department in determining cost of adding any sports program is key.

         Board Member Larry Shaw said that a complete listing of sports would need to include soccer, bowling, swimming  and cross country.   He noted that cross country would be the cheapest to add, but soccer would be the most popular.

         Board member Michelle Chappell said there would be a lot of moving parts to extending any additional sport to the Middle Schools and the impact on the County’s budget would need to be considered.

Personnel Action

      The Board took the following personnel action:

**Approved Shelby Gianni as Assistant Principal at Weirton Elementary;

**Approved Mia Crow as Kindergarten Teacher at Weirton Elementary;

**Accepted the resignations of Karen Crawford, school counselor, Weir Middle, and Isabella Perrone, substitute teacher, countywide;

**Accepted the resignation of Clayton Flowers as Assistant Boys’ Track Coach, Oak Glen Middle School;

**Approved the transfer of Bob Babinchak, assistant Bowling coach, Weir High, to Head Bowling Coach, Weir High; Macy Gump from  Assistant Cheerleading Coach, Weir High, to Head Cheerleading Coach, Weir High; Jessica Naughton from Assistant Girls’ Basketball, Weir High, to Assistant Girls Basketball, Weir Middle; and Connie Hajionnou, Co-Ed Head Tennis, Weir High,  to Head Boys’ Tennis, Weir High;

**Approved Edson Arneault, Sr. as volunteer/unpaid Assistant Football Coach, Oak Glen;

**Assigned Elizabeth Walsh as Skills USA Sponsor, JDR IV Career Center;

**Approved the transfer of Beth Sabbato from Sup. Aide II-IV/ECCAT/AM Pre-K, Weirton Elementary, to Sup. Aide II-IV/ECCAT/AM K, Weirton Elementary; Bobbie Jo Thorn, Cook II, Weir Middle, to Cook III, Weirton Elementary; Charles Klug from Custodian II, Weir High to Custodian II, Weirton Elementary; Michelle Petrella from Substitute Aide, Countywide, to Secretary II, Weir High;

**Approved the assignment of Kristen Bowman-Cross as Secretary II, Weirton Elementary;

**Approved Fran Games and Diane Rocchio as substitute Secretaries.