WELLSVILLE - Members of the Wellsville Board of Education were largely in a congratulatory mood during their final meeting of 2012 on Monday evening. However, it was inevitable that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, which claimed the lives 20 students and 6 administrators last Friday, would be mentioned.
Board member Mike Cook sought to reassure Wellsville parents of the safety measures in place at all district buildings, including keeping all doors locked from the outside and requiring all visitors to be buzzed in before entry. "Our schools are as secure as they can be," he said. Member Tom Brophey stated that resource officers from the Wellsville Police Department are
present in the schools three days per week as well.
Superintendent Richard Bereschik said the district had begun reviewing its security protocols before the shootings last week, due to a trio of bomb threats to schools in the Beaver Local, East Liverpool and Crestview school districts earlier this month. He stated that he's been pleased with his regular security checks of each building. "These incidents are very hard to stop, but we will do everything within our power to keep their children safe." he said. The final word on the randomness of such violent tragedies came from board President Karen Dash.
"It can happen anywhere," she said.
The board approved an agreement with the HPS purchasing consortium to order cafeteria products for the remainder of the school year. Treasurer Coleen Wickham explained that the company orders cafeteria items in bulk for numerous client school districts, hospitals and other entities, yielding lower prices, rebates for payment-on-receipt and other savings. "When I evaluated it, I felt it was probably our best bet at this point in the game," she said.
Wickham also said Wellsville Schools had received certification for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's "Six Cents" school nutrition program. By meeting USDA National School Lunch Program nutritional criteria, the district will receive an extra six-cent reimbursement per meal. Wickham anticipates a savings of $5,000 over the course of the year through participation in the program this year.
In her fiscal report to the board, Wickham reported receipts of $837,144 and expenditures of $1,017,311, for a loss of $180,197 and an ending balance of $3,364,673. She stated that having three pay periods during the month of November was the chief cause for the severity of the loss, but identified it as part of a continuing pattern. "That's kind of what we've been doing, spending more than we're bringing in," she said. Board member Ed Bauer said it was part of a larger "day of reckoning" from the combined effects of a soft economy and deep cuts in state education funding. "We have no control over what the state does," board member Bill Miller said. "We do well with what we have," Brophey added.
Preferring to focus on the achievements within the district, however, board members paid tribute to each of its three schools for receiving an Excellent rating on the Ohio Department of Education report cards for the 2011-2012 school year. Dash offered thanks to students, staff and parents for the hard work during the previous school year. Bauer echoed her thanks and compliments, saying, "It's directly related back to the administration and staff. They've just done an outstanding job."
All three Wellsville schools were honored by the P16 Partnership for Education, with Daw Middle School singled out for receiving an additional Most Improved award for its academic gains over the previous school year.
Board members also trumpeted open enrollment numbers that placed Wellsville fourth in the county behind Crestview, Lisbon and United Local districts, with a net gain of 24.4 students via open enrollment for the year. "It shows that we're doing something here that's bringing people in," Dash said.
The board will hold its organizational meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14 in the superintendent's office at Daw Middle School.