Belpre school district ready for new year

BELPRE – With the new school year beginning Tuesday, the Belpre City Schools District is prepared for students to again fill the classrooms.

“We are ready,” said district superintendent Tony Dunn. “Teachers and staff have been working on development since last week and the elementary school welcomed students with a rally (last) Tuesday.”

For the 2013-2014 school year, there are several new additions to the Belpre Schools family.

These additions include 10 new teachers and staff members: intervention specialists Rachael Tullius, Erik Arnett and Kara Robinson; Matt Morris with tech support; teacher Tony Tracy in seventh through 12th science; teacher Allison Downard in seventh through 12th math; second-grade teachers Andrea Voorhees and Bethany Crawford; fourth-grade teacher Emily Dunfee; and sixth-grade teacher Jamey Erb.

“We also have more changes in both schools’ offices as well as the administrative building,” Dunn said.

Joy Edgell, a former teacher from the Warren School district, is the new principal at Belpre Elementary School after being hired in June. She fills the space left when former principal Bernie Boice was named the new district director of instruction following the July 31 retirement of the previous director Larry Lorentz after 41 years.

David Mounts, of Mansfield, Ohio, was hired in July as the new high school assistant principal after Ben Cunningham left the position for a job outside of the district.

“I am very proud of those who left the district because they moved on to positions of higher responsibility,” Dunn said.

The school board is working with the Ohio Valley Education Services Center on the search for a new district treasurer as Eva Elliott, who had been with Belpre since September 2000, resigned at the end of July.

Until Elliott’s permanent replacement is found, Janine Satterfield, who retired as treasurer from the Washington County Career Center’s Joint Vocational Board in March 2011, temporarily fills the void as interim treasurer. Satterfield has previously served as interim treasurer for Fort Frye, Marietta and Switzerland of Ohio school districts.

The deadline for treasurer applications is Aug. 31. Dunn said he and the board hope to have someone hired and working as the position by late October.

When school opens on Tuesday, students at Belpre High School will contend with some noise of construction as a new heating system is installed.

Last month the district received approval for the project by state funding through the Ohio House Bill 264, also known as the Ohio School Facilities Energy Conservation Program. The project allows the district to authorize the bonds that equal as much as $570,000. The money will be paid back over 15 years at roughly $47,400 annually, which will come from the energy savings. The annual estimated savings will be $56,185.

“The work on the heating system will continue through the first semester,” Dunn said. “We need the system to be operational by the time the weather turns cold, but our goal is to minimize interruptions to the kids.”

The old system was a converted coal furnace and at the end of its life. It constantly broke down and parts are no longer being made for repairs, he said.

The work includes up to 14 individual energy-efficient heating units for the building. With the upgrades, the removal of the current system will give the district much-needed parts to repair the old heating units still used in the junior high and elementary buildings.

This year’s overall Belpre Schools enrollment is up by about 20 students, which has led the district to hire another kindergarten teacher.

“The number’s aren’t drastic,” Dunn said. “We’re not losing students, we’re gaining in small numbers.”

Other smaller changes for this new year include new start times. The high school now starts at 7:50 a.m. and ends at 2:43 p.m. with breakfast at 7:30 a.m.

New lunch prices are $2.50 at the high school and $2.40 at the elementary school.

To check the bus schedule, lunch menus, sports schedules and more throughout the district, visit the Belpre City Schools District website at