Driver wants Hancock CDL testing site at Rockefeller

NEW CUMBERLAND – A Hancock County school bus driver wants to use the John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center as a testing site for commercial driver’s license applicants, but first she must win over a skeptical school board.

Roseanna Finney of Weirton told the Hancock County Board of Education Monday night that using the Career Center for CDL skills testing would be convenient for Hancock and Brooke county applicants and could save the school district money in the long run.

“I think it would be a benefit to Hancock County,” she said.

Finney recently was hired as a third-party CDL examiner for the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles, succeeding Jayelle Nesbitt, who retired in 2010. An independent contractor, she is one of 27 such examiners in the state and the only one for Hancock and Brooke counties.

Currently, Hancock County residents who wish to get a CDL must go to Wheeling or Parkersburg or beyond to take the skills test, she said.

Finney said the Career Center was approved as a testing site in 2004 and was used for that purpose until Nesbitt retired in 2010. However, Superintendent Suzan Smith said she was unaware of the Career Center ever being used for that purpose.

Finney’s proposal raised questions in the minds of several board members, including Patsy Brancazio, John Manypenny and Laura Greathouse.

Brancazio said using the Career Center as a public testing site is outside the scope of the school district’s primary purpose.

“We provide education; we’re not incubators for business,” he said.

Greathouse and Manypenny raised the issue of liability for the school district.

“I would feel more comfortable if there would be a statement of proof of liability insurance (provided by the applicant),” Greathouse said.

Finney said she is insured by the state, and each applicant must show proof of insurance by the entity – truck driving school, company or truck line – that is sending them to be tested.

Board President Jerry Durante said board policy requires any outside organization that wants to use school district property to have a $1 million liability insurance policy.

“That’s not a problem,” said Finney’s husband, Stephen Finney.

The board took no action on Finney’s request. The Career Center started a CDL program for adults in October 2012 and can accept students from West Virginia and Ohio.

Also Monday, the board:

Accepted the retirement of longtime theater teacher Kelsey Hayward, who also teaches psychology and geography. His retirement, effective today, also covers his positions as play director, pep club adviser, National Honor Society adviser, Masque and Sword adviser and junior class adviser.

Hayward’s retirement comes in the wake of his arrest on Aug. 31 for driving under the influence, second offense. Smith said Hayward was not asked to resign but submitted his request following the incident.

Smith said the district will evaluate whether the vacancy left by Hayward needs to be filled.

Approved change orders for the new Weirton Elementary School in the amount of $82,897.48. The change orders are for wetland mitigation (initial planting) and the driveable sidewalk around the school.

Went into executive session to discuss an extended contract for Rick Milhoan of Project and Construction Services Inc. of Wheeling.