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Nine may be cut from Brooke schools

February 5, 2011
By WARREN SCOTT Staff writer

WELLSBURG - The Brooke County Board of Education on Jan. 24 agreed to cut nine staff members, though school officials said those individuals could be rehired in the fall.

Board President Jim Piccirillo said the cuts in staff are based on current enrollment and could be reversed before the new school year.

"Definitely some will be hired back," said Superintendent Kathy Kidder, who noted the rehirings will depend on various factors, including retirements and funding for West Virginia Northern Community College's Middle College program, which employs some Brooke County schoolteachers through a cooperative agreement.

The cuts include Zach Falcon, a writing lab instructor at Wellsburg Middle School; and eight service personnel, including four part-time positions.

Kidder said in some cases, two part-time service positions have been merged into a full-time one. The move will result in more than $18,000 in savings to the school district because the part-time personnel receive full benefits, she said.

But Kidder stressed the cuts aren't something the board takes lightly.

"We just look at the jobs and not the name of the person in it until the end because we have so much compassion for them," she said.

Piccirillo noted the school board saw a drop of about $500,000 in revenue from struggling local industries last year.

He said Kidder and other school board staff have offset that loss by not replacing about 16 staff members who retired and eliminating two positions at the school board by merging their duties with those of others.

Piccirillo said funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped to prevent the board from cutting staff last year.

In related business, the board approved transfers for 28 professional and service personnel, a move also made to reflect changing enrollment.

In many cases, the staff will be transferred to positions within their current schools.

The moves come following a special session Friday in which the board heard from 11 staff members appealing their placement on the board's Reduction in Force or Transfer lists.

The board also recognized the Brooke High School football team for its winning season and several of its members for personal honors they received.

Under the direction of Head Coach Tom Bruney, the team emerged runners-up in the state championship and placed first in the Class AAAA division of the 2010 Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Football Championship, the school's first since 1990.

Jim Piccirillo, the board's president, noted many of the players were involved in the team's bid for the state championship last year and have helped to renew enthusiasm for the school's football program.

He added the team won 24 games in two years, which he said may be a school record.

Receiving individual honors were Ryan Lazear and Joey DiNardo, who were named to the All-State First Team; Anthony Pederson, Ian Morris and Tripper Narigon, who were named to the All-State Second Team; Bill Perkins, who received All-State Special Honorable Mention; Lazear, Morris, DiNardo, Perkins and Billy Wade, who were named All-OVAC; Kyle Wales, Shane Paesano and Pederson, who received OVAC Honorable Mention; Pederson, Morris, Narigon and Lazear, who were named to the All-Valley Big School First Team; Alec Buchmelter, DiNardo and Perkins, who were named to the All-Valley Big School Second Team; Nick Pederson, who received All-Valley Big School Special Mention; Wales and Paesano, who received All-Valley Big School Honorable Mention; and Lazear, who was 2010 recipient of the Huff Award.

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