Wood school board to hire new superintendent

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By Michael Erb 
Parkersburg News and Sentinel


PARKERSBURG - While the announcement of a new superintendent will be one of the major issues addressed by the Wood County Board of Education next week, several equally important items will be up for discussion at Tuesday's meeting.

The board meets at 6:30 p.m. at the district's 13th and Plum street offices in Parkersburg. The meeting is open to the public.

The school board plans to announce its choice for the school system's next superintendent. Three candidates are being considered: Ronald B. Cantley II, an assistant superintendent in Fayette County, W.Va.; John Flint, a retired Wood County Schools administrator; and Thomas Graves, a principal in Russell County, Va. The board plans to discuss those applicants Monday in executive session, then vote on the board's choice for superintendent at Tuesday's meeting.

Among the other items to be discussed Tuesday is an update by Mike Fling, assistant superintendent of school services, on the possible site for a new Williamstown Elementary School.

The district is looking at the old Fenton Glass Factory site in Williamstown to determine if an elementary school could be built on the property.

Fling on Friday said only part of his presentation would be in open session because some of the information involves legal aspects of the property purchase.

"I will be giving an update on the materials I've been able to collect and the parties I've been able to speak with," Fling said. "Nothing has been solidified. The board wanted me to get more information on the process and some of the possible costs, and that's what I've done.

"These are very early cost estimates, and we're not even talking about the actual (school) building yet. I want to make sure we are doing our due-diligence on the property."

The board Tuesday also will receive a presentation from Finance Director Connie Roberts on the school system's fiscal audit for 2013. Fling said this is one of the first steps in determining the 2014-15 school year budget.

"We will be getting into the budget process pretty heavily in the next 2-3 weeks," Fling said. "What (the 2013 audit) does is gives us an accounting of where the county is financially and where our goals should be."

Doug Kiger, director of the district's Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, will give an update on the offerings and needs of the program. Kiger recently told the school board Wood County Schools needs to evaluate the program in order to better serve the students, community, and potential businesses, such as an incoming cracker plant.

Board President Tim Yeater said Kiger's presentation Tuesday will be the first step in that process.

"We want to make sure whatever we do is not a knee-jerk reaction," Yeater said. "We want to address our needs and plans from a data-driven standpoint. We want that information to determine where we go next."

On April 1, Kiger told the school board he planned to address the school board multiple times in the coming months and urged the board to look at expanding the district's technical programs and improving its facilities.