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Controversy surrounding BOE, recommendation

Updated: Friday, May 16 2014, 05:35 PM EDT

WHEELING, W.Va.--

A recommendation made at Ohio County's Board of Education meeting Friday morning is being questioned by some.

Some board members said they were caught off guard when current board president Jim Jorden, who was just voted out, made a big decision.

Jorden recommended extending Superintendent Dianna Vargo's contract. The contract still has a year left and pays around $140,000.

Jorden cited improving test scores, the graduation rate and a perfect financial audit.

Jorden, however, was defeated by newcomer Tim Birch and current board members Christine Carder and Shane Mallett.

Birch called the move childish, undermining and a ploy to keep power.

"I don't understand the big hurry," said Birch.

Board member Gary Kestner called it "sour grapes."

"It seems like a political ploy and circumvents the election process," said Kestner. "Employees are very upset and we should be ashamed of ourselves."
Kestner said morale has been low in the school district and he is hoping Vargo helps put a stop to what he called nonsense.
Mallett said the move had the appearance of impropriety.

"I believe it's an issue for the new board to decide, but I am not saying anything negative against Dianna Vargo, because she has done a good job, but there are things that need to be addressed moving forward," said Mallett. "The taxpayers, voters, specifically said they wanted change in this election."

"When you are talking about paying $145,000 salary I think it needs discussed more in-depth and many things need considered," said Mallett.

Jorden could not be reached for comment.

Vargo still has until June 2015 on her current contract. The new board goes into effect July 1 and a new board president will need to be decided.

The next board meeting is May 28.

Controversy surrounding BOE, recommendation


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