picture by: Joselyn King
WHEELING — New Ohio County School Board Chairman Andy Garber said there will be no immediate discussion before the board about whether the school district should resume full funding of the library from the Ohio county.
Last year, the board voted to cut funding for the library from about $884,547 to $589,698, or about $300,000 for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
“That discussion hasn’t happened yet. We’ll deal with that later,” Garber said of funding for the next fiscal year. ‘wave.
“I would like to see us support the library. But again, I’m one person. There are five on board, and it remains to be seen whether we will resume funding. We will work as one unit. We’re going to explore the kinds of things we have in mind and come out with one voice.
For now, Ohio County School Board operations will remain as they were, he continued.
“What won’t be different is that we will continue to strive for excellence, strive to help children, serve the community, watch our spending and deal with issues wisely,” said Garber.
“We have a strong board of trustees and will work collaboratively to oversee the school district.”
There are three issues currently front and center before the board that will be topics of discussion in the coming months, according to Garber.
These include the completion of $76 million in construction projects on school district properties, the potential purchase of artificial turf for the Wheeling Park High School baseball field, and proposed changes to the start times of schools.
When it comes to start time changes, Ohio County Schools have invested time and money to figure out what should happen before bus routes and the start of the day can be changed. changed, he said.
In May, the board agreed to spend $10,000 on an extensive study by Edulog to optimize school district bus routes to accommodate an 8:30 a.m. departure from Wheeling Park High School. The company is studying how existing Ohio County school routes can be reconfigured to accommodate a later start time at WPHS, how that will affect the start of the day in elementary and middle schools, and whether buses and additional drivers will be required.
WPHS’ Astroturf project, meanwhile, has an expected cost of $1.35 million. The project is not covered by bond construction projects and the cost will have to be absorbed by the general fund.
“We are completing our bonding work and construction is underway,” Garber said. “I’ll be traveling with (Superintendent Kim Miller) to see the school project and get a sense of how things are going.”
He expects to call business sessions down the road, and some of them could involve two constitutional amendments that West Virginia voters could see on their ballots.
The first of these would give the state legislature the power to exempt most personal property and business personal vehicles from property tax, which would result in lost revenue for county school districts. The second, if approved by West Virginia voters, would clarify that the rule-making authority of the State Board of Education is subject to the review, approval, modification or rejection of the West Virginia legislature.
Garber said he is still researching what each amendment will mean for Ohio County.
“But that doesn’t look good for public education,” he said.