The work stoppage was the main issue discussed at the Ohio County Board of Education meeting Monday night.
So many people came out to Monday night’s board of education meeting that they had to move the venue to Wheeling Park’s Performing Arts Center to house the over 100 people that attended.
The seats were filled with teachers, parents, and many more, but all eyes and ears were open every time someone took the podium. John Chacalos, a Wheeling Park teacher, said, “It was something that we didn’t want to do, but we had to do it.” Roger Smith, a retired Ohio County Schools teacher, said, “I am retired comfortably with a very good BlueCross health plan thanks for the state of Ohio and thanks to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, no thanks to West Virginia.” Mark Fetty, a Wheeling Park teacher, said, “I began pursuing certification in the state of Ohio, and I do not want to have to do that. I love it here, and I want to stay here.”
Teachers spoke out about how they appreciated the support from board, parents, and students. Elaine Sedilko, a Ritchie Elementary teacher, said, “From the amount of support we have been receiving, it looks like our families and communities know that Ohio county public school employees do go above and beyond when it comes to our students.”
Parents had the chance to speak about how this has caused them an inconvenience. One parent said, “The whole thing is that I don’t understand the point that is trying to be made here. You can still be negotiating and be proving your point and educating our children at the same time. I don’t want my child to think just because we’re negotiating and you’re not giving me what I want, I don’t have to do what you want.” Meagan Kirchner, a Woodsdale Elementary parent, said, “You’re not only fighting for every West Virginia teacher. You’re also fighting for every West Virginia state trooper, and every other West Virginia state employee who has been undervalued, underappreciated by the leadership in Charleston for far too long.”
Kirchner thought Governor Justice’s speech from earlier in the day was an insult. “When he said get back in the classroom, I heard, you silly women, get back in the kitchen.”
The Ohio County board of education wants to make it clear that they support their teachers during this difficult time. Kim Miller, the Ohio County Schools Superintendent, says, “We miss you being in our schools but we understand that you’re going through a very difficult time as well so I applaud you for being so positive and know that together we’ll get through this.”
Now due to the work stoppage continuing, Ohio County Schools will be closed Tuesday.