Weather made its way onto the agenda again as Edon Northwest Local Board of Education was updated on the current school calendar and other District matters during its regular session held Tuesday, March 11, 2014 in the school’s Media Center. President Brad McCrea called the meeting to order with members Jamie Schaffter, Aaron Hake, Dave Wehrle and Dave Haase in attendance.
“As it’s being reported through several news outlets ~ and there’s been no formal confirmation,” began Superintendent Ed Ewers, “is supposedly the Conference Committee has come together and we can anticipate getting four additional calamity days ~ [according to] the most recent information I received this afternoon.”
A modified 2013-2014 Calendar, based on the number of weather-related school cancellations over the past several weeks, was presented at last month’s meeting. “The calendar I’ve been working off of ~ the one I’ve shared with you on multiple occasions ~ [factors in] having the four additional calamity days,” noted Ewers. “That leaves our current last day of school ~ and I mean as of right now ~ as June 2.”
With only a few days of winter left and plenty of spring weather still ahead, what happens from here on out remains to be seen. “We do have options available to us, potentially,” he continued. “However, I guess the bottom line for me is not to rework the calendar until there is absolute confirmation [from the General Assembly] regarding the additional calamity days; I think it’s best we just sit tight.”
Additionally that evening, Ewers brought Board members up-to-date on security measures at the K-12 building. “This is something we’ve been working on all year,” he said. “It’s taken longer than I had anticipated but we’re [still moving] forward with that agenda.”
While the educational facility is equipped with video surveillance cameras (monitored in-house; recorded and reviewed by Habitec Security), some additional equipment has been purchased. Desk monitors for office secretaries to view visitors at the front doors, along with automatic closures (now in place) and panic buttons (awaiting delivery), helps bring the District closer to its goal of having a more secure building. “This is a continuing process; along with it comes drills, more training for staff and more training for students [so] they all are accustomed to acting and responding in a crisis situation,” said Ewers.
In answering follow-up questions posed by Board Members regarding security, Ewers went on to note the District’s Crisis Management Plan would be reviewed and adjustments made if deemed necessary. “What we’ve done in any situation where we’ve had any kind of incident, is to always go back to our policy and say ‘okay, what did we do right and what could we do better’.”
“Certainly there are things [learned from the bomb threat in February] that could be improved upon and we will update our policy and our crisis plan to reflect this,” he stated. “Some [concerns] had to do with communication with our parents and students; some had to do with internal communication with staff. We could also do better from the standpoint of logistically getting some students out of the building. With any situation, you just need to go back and evaluate how it went.”
Overall, Ewers was relatively pleased with the quick evacuation of the building last month but realizes there are definite areas to modify and adjust; recommended changes will be reflected in an updated Crisis Management Plan.
In concluding his monthly report, Ewers also noted the annual bus inspection had been scheduled for July 12. “As part of that conversation, I’ve shared with you before we are in need of additional buses for our fleet; we have several busses getting to the limit of their life-service.” After conferring with Treasurer Samples and Facility Manager Todd Muehlfeld, Ewers believes the District can purchase a thirty-passenger, gasoline-fueled bus to address the current issue at hand.
“A smaller bus is more efficient and effective and would allow us more flexibility with routes [running under capacity],” noted Ewers. “It would also be big enough to [handle] transportation needs for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.” With that in mind, adjustments to a couple routes could push additional bus purchases out one maybe two years, avoiding multiple acquisitions in any single fiscal year.
The bidding process will begin shortly; the new bus is expected to be purchased (using bus fund monies) and on-site in time for the start of the 2014-2015 school year.
In highlighting their March Reports to the Board, administrators shared:
Treasurer Kerry Samples
•Provided Fiscal Year 2013 District Profile Report data noting information was just made available by the State; changes to expenditure standards received from them in May (to implement by June 30) resulted in the delay. Additionally, the new expenditures formula gives the cost to educate the District’s typical student at $8,004 ($9,368 under the old standard); figures are $810 below twenty similar-sized districts and the State average of $10,447. (When looking at the operational cost per pupil, under the new funding classification, local taxpayers are paying less than five dollars per day for student education.)
•Submitted his standard SM2 Report indicating revenues were down sixty-nine thousand dollars and expenses up two hundred thirty thousand dollars for the same eight-month period as last year. The District is tracking three hundred thousand dollars worse than a year ago.
•Shared his annual report School District Tax Comparison for Williams County Schools; District residents pay an average of $561.66 per year in school taxes, the lowest in the county (calculations based on a house market value of seventy thousand dollars and household income of forty thousand dollars). The full report may be viewed at www.edon.k12.oh.us ~ Community Links/District Finances.
Grades 7-12 Principal Anthony Stevens
•Recognized Chloe Thiel and Coy Dunkle (unable to be present) as January Junior High and High School Students of the Month, respectively.
•Noted the Parents Advisory Committee met last week; important issues, including new online course electives (supported by Straight A Grant monies) and Building Report Card focus areas (gap closing, graduation rate, etc.) were discussed. Parents of all grade 7-12 students are invited to attend the monthly meetings.
•Shared OGT testing this week had, so far, gone smoothly; OAA practice tests being administered to grades 7-8 would be scored to assess student preparedness; Freshman Orientation was held March 3; registration for next year’s grades 9-12 students has been completed; ACT Reporting indicated Five Year Trends in Average ACT Scores for EHS had risen nearly two points (22.1 for the Class of 2013) and college readiness of students was above state levels; seventeen new students were inducted into the National Honor Society.
•Expressed thanks to Mark Blue for his efforts with Maxton Motors in sponsoring the Ford U Drive 4UR School fundraiser held last week; proceeds (estimated at $3,500-$4,000) will benefit student organizations. He also noted a golf fundraising event, planned in May, will raise money towards updating and replacing the high school gymnasium’s sound system.
Grades KK-6 Principal Bonnie Troyer
•Recognized February’s Bomber Courtesy Club members for the great things they are doing in school; they’re wonderful role models.
•Submitted monthly reports outlining principal, teacher, parent and student activities (everyone enjoyed FFA Week!) for February along with updated Elementary School enrollment figures. Additionally, a tornado drill was conducted March 5 at 9:50 a.m. in alignment with the Statewide Tornado Drill held during Severe Weather Awareness Week.
•Shared Star Reading and Math summary reports, noting with the number of lost days, progress is being made.
In other business brought forward, the Board:
•Welcomed Christa Perry, Director of Bands and Alyssa Maier, EHS freshman and representative for students who participated in last month’s OMEA District 1 Honors Festival at the Stranahan Theatre in Toledo. Musicians recognized by the Board included: Junior High Choir ~ Rylee Kokinis, Tamara Mills, Steven Kuhn, Austen Riter, Thor Dunkle, Hunter Hodapp; High School Choir ~ Kenny Ordway and High School Band ~ Alyssa Maier and Hannah Kaylor.
•Accepted Cash Donations during February from: various individuals/businesses ($50 to FFA; $1,150 to Post Prom; $80 for High School Choir trip to Cleveland); OhioPyle Prints ($31.26 from clothing sales at Kaiser’s); TSO Grant ($250 to Music Fund); Edon State Bank ($1,500 to Drama Fund/Stage Lighting); John and Marilyn Toner ($500 to Drama Fund/Stage Lighting); Bryan Area Foundation ($1,102 to Drama Fund/Stage Lighting).
•Approved the resolution accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the Budget Commission (County Auditor, Prosecutor, Treasurer and consultant), authorizing the existing tax levies and certifying them to the county auditor as presented. (Required by law, this is done annually to determine local tax funding.)
•Approved a three-year contract with Sammy L. Stamm and Company for Cash Basis annual reporting statements. (Cost: $2100, an increase of one hundred dollars from the last contract and a four thousand dollar savings per year over GASB reporting.)
•Approved a five-year contract with Shambaugh & Son of Fort Wayne, Indiana to perform annual Fire/Sprinkler Testing and Inspection; Fire Alarm Testing; Fire Alarm Detection Sensitivity Testing. (Cost: $2,050, a four hundred dollar annual savings over previous testing conducted by three separate companies.)
•Voted to enter into Executive Session midway during the meeting to discuss employment and compensation of personnel. Upon returning to Open Session one hour later, approved the Classified Salary Schedule for new hires, effective immediately (starting base rate for Custodial I ~ $13.94 per hour and Custodial II ~ $15.75 per hour); job descriptions for new Custodial I and Custodial II classifications and a Custodial II, Step 1 contract with Trevor Thiel.
•Heard from Superintendent Ewers the intention to submit an application for second round Straight A Grant monies was filed last week; extending STEM offerings and exploring post secondary options are funding possibilities being considered. Additionally, the District plans to utilize a grant program offered by the State to help offset costs of updated security measures.
•Approved minutes from last month’s regular session held February 11, 2014 as well as February Financial Reports, Permanent Appropriation Increases/Decreases for FY 2014 and the Amended Certificate of Estimated Resources for FY 2014.
•Noted the Policy Committee would convene at the end of the meeting to review suggested changes.
•Voted to enter into Executive Session prior to adjournment to discuss negotiations; no action was taken.
The Edon Northwest Local Board of Education will next meet Tuesday, April 8, 2014 in the school’s Media Center beginning at 5:30 p.m.