Shepherd leads WJ school board

The first Jefferson Local School Board meeting of 2008 yielded a change in presidency, and Dave Harper was sworn in as a newly elected board member.

During an organizational session held before the board’s regular meeting on Jan. 14, Ed Shepherd was elected president and Bette Mendenhall was elected vice president. School district resident Steve Johnston was appointed to the Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library board for a seven-year term.

Prior to regular action, members of Madison Lodge 221 presented a $300 donation from an annual turkey shoot to Norwood Elementary to allow needy students to purchase books at the school’s annual book fair in February. The board also accepted a $692 donation from the West Jefferson PTO to reimburse the cost of Norwood’s courtyard table umbrellas.

A vote on a settlement agreement and claims release with Dorsey Construction Co. was pulled from the agenda due to last-minute correspondence from a bonding company. Treasurer Jill Scott said the district’s legal representative wanted time to evaluate language changes regarding ongoing construction issues with Dorsey.

“The bonding company wants to wash their hands clean,” reported Scott, “and our lawyer wants to clarify points. I think they’re (bonding company) trying to take a portion of themselves out of it. They’re playing a game right now.”

Superintendent William Mullett was hopeful a settlement could be agreed upon, but also noted the end of the disagreement could end up in court. He said the district’s legal representative thinks a settlement is within reach, but wanted to go over the language changes made by the bonding company.

Board members approved the employment of two custodians, following the departure of Bob Webb and Todd Gilliam. Larry Rollin was hired on a part-time basis for the balance of the school year and Craig Snider was hired as a full-time custodian.

Mullett emphasized the action was necessary to fill vacated positions and said he plans to present the board with a proposal at the February meeting to hire another six-hour custodian to serve four hours in the middle school and two hours at the athletic complex.

“I think it will serve our needs very well,” Mullett said. “They need a little more help.”

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