West Branch teachers make case for levy

BELOIT- West Branch teachers have made sacrifices for the betterment of the students, according to the teacher’s union.

Mike Helm, president of the union, read a statement at Thursday’s school board meeting informing voters of sacrifices the teachers “make and continue to make to keep the education of the students the top priority.”

According to Helm, in the recently ratified contract between the union and school board, the teachers gave back roughly $78,000 in monies to be spent on teachers this year. The contract also marks the sixth year with a zero percent increase in wages.

“We want to make sure this information is out there so voters can make an informed decision,” Helm said.

The school board is seeking a five-year .75 percent income tax on May 6.

Also at the meeting, several community and staff members spoke in support of the levy, noting the need to support the school to not only remain excellent, but push toward the cutting edge. They also encouraged anyone with questions to visit the school’s website or contact administrators for answers instead of relying on social media.

In other business the board approved a three-week, pre-kindergarten summer intervention program funded through sources provided by the district and United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. Part of a broader, more comprehensive Success by Six Initiative to address the needs of children in our community, United Way of Youngstown and Mahoning Valley will offer financial support of $18,000 ($4,500 per unit for four units) for a three-week, five days per week, four hours per day summer program from July 28 through August 15. This is the fifth year the district has offered the program.

The board also approved for the program Aaron Walker, Amy Mabbott, Matthew Manley and Aaron Bernstein as administrators; Cayla Bowers, Jennifer Fye, Brianna Kelecava and Kassie Blazer as teachers; Cori Sands and Kim Sabatine as secretaries; and Kim Render, Cathy Tedrow and Patti Flickinger as aides.

Additionally the board accepted donations of $300 from John Ault to girls basketball $400 from the athletic boosters to HUDL, $400 from Sally & Associates Auto Sales for the high school principal account, $1,000 from Little Warrior Basketball for boys basketball, $84.75 from the athletic boosters for helmets for the football program, $1,800 from Knox PIE to the Knox Principal Fund and $1,500 from Robert Herold for the Spirit Bus.

The board also hired Samantha McMahon as a home instructor on an as needed basis, Frank Edie as a computer and auditorium technician on an as needed basis, Jodi McLean as a two and a half hour cook’s helper and Leatta Davis as a two and a quarter hour cook’s helper, as well as approved compensation for Christa Harris for additional choreography for “Tarzan” funded by proceeds from the spring musical.

The board also accepted the resignation from Shane Blommel as spring weight room supervisor and hired Daniel Dota to the position and accepted the resignation of Danielle Kinsey as playground aide at the conclusion of this school year.

Additionally the board approved the West Branch Middle School eighth graders to travel via charter buses to Pittsburgh to visit the Carnegie Science Center and Pittsburgh Pirates game on May 7.

The board also amended the distribution provisions of the Daniel (Buddy) Humeniuk Scholarship Fund to increase the scholarship award limit to an annual sum of $1,500, as well as a $20,000 bequeathment for that purpose, and recognized scholarship amounts of $20,000 in the name of Sisilia H. Humeniuk for nursing, $10,000 in memory of Lowell Sanor for agriculture and $10,000 in memory of Tillie F. Sanor for agriculture.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 29 at the high school.