By Kaylyn Christopher
Times West Virginian
The Marion County Board of Education approved an employee stipend Monday at a regularly scheduled meeting.
The $800,000 stipend, which will be distributed among Marion County Schools employees during the 2013-14 school year, was approved by a vote of 4-1.
Board members Janet Crescenzi, Dr. Babette Sims, Richard Pellegrin and board president the Rev. James Saunders voted for the stipend while board member Sis Murray was opposed.
Murray proposed that the board allocate $650,000 of the $800,000 to facility improvements within the county.
According to Murray, because Marion County citizens passed the excess levy, employees may anticipate a $1.2 to $1.3 million bonus to be distributed in the spring. That money must be used for income or benefits, Murray said, whereas the board has some discretion over how the stipend money is used.
“The citizens of this county have been very supportive of this system and I think it is fiscally responsible for us to give back to them in the form of improving their facilities,” Murray said.
Saunders said the stipend has been given to employees since 2006, and believed that should continue to be the case.
“I’m not a believer in taking back what’s already been given,” Saunders said. “For what our employees do in the school system and what they get paid, I think for the hard work they do they need to be paid for it.”
At the meeting, board members also expressed appreciation for the passing of the levy.
“This board is very thankful to the citizens of Marion County that passed the excess levy,” Saunders said.
In other business:
• The board approved the cleaning of the outside of Monongah Middle School.
“We’re firm believers that the appearance of a building is important,” Superintendent of Schools Gary Price said. “There have been a lot of tremendous renovations on the inside.”
• The board approved the payment for renovations to the East Fairmont Junior High School gym. Price said the money was used for the replacement of windows, but other renovations such as refinishing the floor are also a possibility.
“We don’t have enough gymnasiums the way it is,” Price said. “We couldn’t afford to tear one down.”
• The board voted on the expulsion of three students who violated the Safe Schools Act.
• The next meeting will be held on Nov. 4 at Monongah Elementary.
Email Kaylyn Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @KChristopherTWV.