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Washington County school board briefs

December 14, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

Ridenour reinstated as school board president

Wayne Ridenour will continue to serve as president of the Washington County Board of Education.

The school board held a reorganization meeting Tuesday afternoon, following the fall election, and reinstated Ridenour as president with a 5-2 vote.

Board member W. Edward Forrest was approved as vice president with a 5-2 vote. Justin Hartings had been serving as vice president.

In both cases, board members Donna Brightman and Karen Harshman voted against the moves.

After the meeting, Harshman said she had someone else in mind for both positions and thought the presidency should rotate every two years.

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Reached by phone later in the day, Brightman said that historically the position of president has rotated. She also said she’d like other board members to have a chance to lead.

Ridenour is a retired teacher who works as a real estate appraiser.

Ridenour says he hopes board will make pay raise decision at Jan. 4 meeting

Washington County Board of Education President Wayne Ridenour said Tuesday he was hopeful the board would make a decision regarding pay raises for support personnel at its Jan. 4 meeting.

The school board received a report last week from the impasse panel that heard arguments from the school system and the Washington County Educational Support Personnel regarding pay raises, Ridenour said.

In June 2010, State Schools Superintendent Nancy Grasmick declared negotiations between the two sides to be at impasse.

Support personnel were due a 3 percent raise plus step increase, if applicable, this fiscal year, according to the union’s contract.

School system officials have said the school system doesn’t have the money for the raises.

Student school board member wants countywide student advisory council

The Washington County Board of Education’s student member told board members Tuesday that he’d like them to consider the establishment of a countywide student advisory council.

The council would have representatives from the school system’s high schools and potentially some middle schools, student board member Steven Wang said.

Asked about the concept after the meeting, Wang said it would give student leaders an opportunity to discuss issues. The representatives would not necessarily be the schools’ Student Government Association presidents, but students who are passionate about education, he said.

Wang would like for them to meet once or twice a month at the central office off Commonwealth Avenue.

Wang said he will make a presentation to the board about his suggestion.

School Board President Wayne Ridenour said he liked the idea of the student advisory council.

Ridenour said after the meeting that he’d like to see student government be more efficient and better organized.

Student member abstains from voting on approval of minutes

Washington County Board of Education’s student representative told his fellow board members Tuesday that he wasn’t notified of a Nov. 30 board meeting and that he doesn’t have access to board meeting minutes prior to their approval.

The minutes issue came up when the board voted to approve the minutes of several meetings.

Student member Steven Wang abstained from voting on the approval of minutes because he said he hadn’t seen them yet. Wang said he only gets to see the minutes after the board approves them.

Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said “that’s something for the board to consider.”

Later in the meeting, Wang said he didn’t attend the Nov. 30 board meeting because he wasn’t invited or aware of it. He said he realized it was a short, emergency meeting, but he would appreciate being included in board events.

“I would only say that that had to be an oversight,” Board President Wayne Ridenour said.

“My apologies from the chair that you did not get that info,” Ridenour said. He said he would make sure that doesn’t happen again.

The Nov. 30 afternoon meeting was called for the board to vote on a compromise with employee unions.

Ad hoc committee formed in superintendent search

An ad hoc committee has been formed concerning the process of selecting a new schools superintendent, Washington County Board of Education member Justin Hartings said Tuesday.

Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan announced in November she would retire from the school system at the end of February. Morgan will become executive director of America’s Promise Alliance’s Grad Nation initiative.

In addition to Hartings, board member Paul Bailey and Board Vice President W. Edward Forrest serve on the committee, Hartings said.

The committee has already met and will present its research to the full board during a closed session on Thursday afternoon at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hartings said. The board will discuss developing a process to select a new superintendent.

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