Board of Education Approves Bid for Weir Softball & Baseball Field Work.

      Members of the Hancock County Board of Education approved necessary funding for the Weir High Softball and Baseball Field and will take a more active role by attending updates and construction meetings on the progress.  The initial bids for the project came in in excess of $3 million making it out of the range of the funding allocated for the project. The Board opted to then address the project on a line item basis and addressed the turf on both fields first. The Board voted to accept the bid from FieldTurf for $2.649,993.73 that will include site and fields work and Astro turf on  both the Baseball and Softball field. The first phase of the project is slated to begin in August or September. The bids do not include structure such as press box, dugouts or concession stands with the exception of the girls’ dugout which must be done to include a retaining wall.

      Board President Chris Gillette noted that when new members had attended training of their responsibility, they were encouraged to become actively involved in the school district and indicated that one member or four could attend the progress meetings as the project goes forth.  (Five members present would constitute a meeting of the Board.)   Vice President Ed Fields noted that several Board members are retired and could attend daytime meetings.  Board members will now be notified of all meetings should they opt to attend..

     Adequate space at New Manchester Elementary was discussed.  Fields said he had visited New Manchester and was concerned because it appeared classroom space was limited.   He noted that an Assistant Principal would be assigned at NMES and questioned where there would be space for her office.

      Superintendent Dawn Petrovich explained that the building was not overcrowded, but utilizing the CARES money grant, she had been able to secure additional services for students and some of the space was being reconfigured.

      Fields had placed a discussion of attorney fees on the Agenda.   He noted that many people had expressed to him concern over the amount of money the Board was spending on legal fees.   He noted in this year’s budget $75,000.00 is allocated for legal costs.   Board member Larry Shaw said that the previous Board had been provided an analysis of money spent on legal counsel since 1998 with legal representation ranging frim $25,000.00 to $250,000.  The average cost was.   In past year’s the Prosecutor’s Office represented the Board with the late attorney, Bill Fahey, being assigned.   Attorney Dave Cross of Wellsburg first represented the Board as assistant prosecutor and later on a retainer for his private firm of $60,000.00 per year. Another private law firm was also doing work for the Board during that time. Currently Dinsmore & Shohl represents the Board.

     Gillette said that the current Board wants to be accessible and have an open dialogue with the public.  He suggested that the Board may not elect to continue being seated on rafters suggesting that being seated on floor level may make the Board more accessible.

      WVEA co-president Melanie Donofe requested that the Board reinstitute the quarterly meetings with faculty, school service personnel and principles.