WINTERSVILLE - The parents of Wayne Elementary gathered to show their support during Indian Creek School District's monthly board meeting Thursday.
According to Melissa Ziftal, the Wayne parents are "concerned with the school closing and the unclear future for Wayne Elementary."
The parents, who have nicknamed Wayne the "small school with big hearts," are worried that if the operating levy in November is not approved that Wayne Elementary will see the effects.
"We are concerned about the new high school levy and want to know if the levy passes or even if it fails what that means for Wayne," Ziftal said. "We feel as though Wayne may be the first casualty if it fails and this leaves the future unclear for us."
The board is eyeing a 1.45-mill operating levy for a period of five years on the Nov. 6 ballot.
"We believe that Wayne is crucial for the success of the school district," she continued. "If you look at it, the 2008 levy for the middle school project only passed by 300 votes. The Wayne community is made up of over 600 voters. Without the support of the Wayne community that 'yes' vote may not have been possible. This was the same scenario in the 2010 levy."
Ziftal went on to say the cuts in the district are "making our children's classes larger and larger."
"We don't want our children to be just another number," she noted. "At Wayne, the teachers know the students by name as well as their families. We don't want to see this change. We are worried if the schools combine, they will be just another kid."
Donna Corder, Wayne parent-teacher organization president, said she "would do anything for all the children at Wayne."
"Wayne is a community school where the school helps the community and the community helps the school," she stated. "What people like about Wayne is that there is a caring staff, a small school environment and a family atmosphere. We take care of each other. We are small but we are strong."
Jackie Carpenter, a PTO member, also addressed the board and told them she considers Wayne "one of the best schools in the district."
"Not only am I concerned about Wayne, but I am concerned about the whole district," Carpenter said. "I feel as though the board is preparing for the future of Wayne without making the school community aware. I hope this levy passes in November because our students and communities deserve it. We consider Wayne to be a close family and it saddens me to think Wayne may not be around to support the community."
Board member Dr. John Figel addressed the parents telling them, "On behalf of the board we appreciate what you've said and know how you feel about Wayne and we know you have a great school.
"This is not something that we hope to see happen and you have raised a lot of good points," he stated. "We can appreciate your feelings and are here to tell you that there has not been any decision to close Wayne but there have been a number of discussions regarding the whole district."
He went on to say the board in no way wants to close Wayne.
"I assure you that we will do everything we can to make the best decision for the district as a whole," he said. "But as of right now, there is no plan in place to close Wayne."
In other business, the board:
Established support staff substitute rates for the 2012-13 school year as follows: bus drivers at $9 an hour and bench rate of $7.70 an hour; mechanics at $10.82 an hour; computer technicians at $11 an hour; and classified substitutes at $7.70 an hour.
Adopted a resolution approving, in collaboration with the Jefferson County Education Service Center and the Jefferson County Juvenile Court, to provide an alternative school for designated students during the 2012-13 school year.
Adopted a resolution, in collaboration with the Jefferson County EMS, to be provided EMIS coordination services through the assignment of John Polsinelli; personal assistant services for students with visual impairments through the assignment of Amber Basich; occupational therapy services through the assignment of Beth Mysliewiec-Andlinger; and personal assistant services for students with visual impairments through the assignment of Michelle Trikones during the 2012-13 school year.
Entered into a lease agreement with Jefferson County Head Start/CAC for the use of 1,408 square feet in the Bantam Ridge Building for the period of Aug. 1 through July 31, 2014.
Approved a resolution to proceed with the issue of bonds in the amount of $22,000,000 for the new high school project and to proceed with a 1.45-mill operating levy for a period of five years.
Entered into a lease agreement with the Jefferson County Farm Bureau for the use of approximately 936 square feet in the Bantam Ridge Building for the period of Oct. 1 through July 31, 2014.
Approved an agreement with Coca-Cola Refreshments USA Inc. to have exclusive beverage availability rights on all district property for three years.
Made a motion to hire Kerri Ferguson, varsity volleyball assistant coach; and Christine Fenske, grades seven through 12 cheering assistant coach.
Approved the resignation request of bus drive Rick Custer for retirement purpose, effective Sept. 1.
Approved Kimberly Mark and Tina Quattrocchi as grades seven through 12 volunteer cheering assistant coaches.
Approved the resignation request of elementary Principal Matthew Shepherd for personal reasons and approved the employment of Nicole McDonald as Wintersville Elementary principal for the 2012-13 school year. Approved the employment of Dan Hartman in the split position of assistant principal at the high school and middle school for 2012-13.
Approved a leave of absence request for elementary teacher Betsy Looman for 2012-13.
Approved a leave of absence for intervention teacher Lacie Kernik for 2012-13.
Approved the following volunteers: football, Justin Wilson, Matt Cowser, Arthur Pugh and Denny Cowser; and cross country, Erica Hosterman.
Approved the employment of Jessie Ferrari as varsity girls soccer head coach.
Approved the resignation request of cook/cashier Michelle Swickard.
Approved the resignation request of classroom aide Barbara Terry.