Edon Northwest School Board Assured With School Safety Policy; Receives Sizeable Donation To District

0With the completion of their Reorganization Meeting, the Edon Northwest Local Board of Education convened for its regular monthly session Tuesday, January 8, 2013 in the Edon Schools Media Center. Newly-elected president Jill Jacoby welcomed everyone in attendance before calling the meeting to order.

In the midst of addressing routine items, Superintendent Ed Ewers took time to speak to last month’s tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. “Certainly there’s been a great deal of conversation and response to the tragedy that took place in Newtown, CT,” he began. “I want to reassure you, the Board, and our community that [the District] is very much consistent and up-to-date on its [safety] policies.”

He further went on to state over Christmas break he’d met with Edon Chief of Police Tom Szymczak to review current procedures. “We will sit down again this month and look at those issues that could need revisions or are appropriate for revisions.”

Often times with horrible events of this nature, a wide variety of outcomes, reactions and “what if” questions, will emerge. Again, he reassured the Board and community that all concerns would be taken into consideration during future discussions. “What I don’t want to do is create a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to some of these issues. We have to take a look at what’s best for our District, for our students ~ what’s best for their safety ~ and how we can manage our situation here. We will work with local law enforcement to make sure that happens.”

As the process continues, more information will become available. “This is such an issue that people are looking at,” he concluded, “I want you to be aware we are working with the Ohio Attorney General ~ with all [components and personnel] ~ to make sure we are in compliance and doing everything in our power to keep our children safe while they’re in the building.”

On a lighter note, the Board was pleased to learn more about last month’s sizeable donation to the District. “We certainly would like to recognize the ten thousand dollar donation from Jimmy Reitzel towards the purchase of our sound system,” noted Superintendent Ewers. “It will be put to use, not only within our music program, but also for graduation and other [events]. We are extremely appreciative of his donation ~ and those of our other donors as well.”

Principal David Kennedy, who was involved in the purchase process, further explained what items were acquired with Mr. Reitzel’s donation. “I was able to purchase a sound system that we can use for our musicals (saving their budget nearly fourteen hundred dollars a year), outside groups that come in and for graduation ~ to help support our sound in the gym.” The portable wireless system includes eight wireless microphones for use during musical productions, a soundboard, two mini-subwoofers, four house speakers, four microphones for the stage and several miscellaneous items, e.g. cords, needed for setup.

He also told at least three students per grade level, along with two seniors, would be trained as sound technicians. “Trained students will be used to help with outside community groups needing additional sound support for their events. Everyone is very excited ~ and very appreciative ~ of [what this donation has provided].”

January’s Board reports included:

Treasurer Kerry Samples

  • Noted, with lower enrollment numbers, the District would be losing nearly one hundred thirteen thousand dollars in Foundation Funding; revenue, based on the current ADM (Average Daily Membership done in October), will be adjusted over the remainder of the year.
  • Shared the County Auditor’s new report showed total district valuation had dropped two percent from a year ago (four percent county-wide); valuation numbers had consistently grown from 1999 until now. Total valuation for agriculture properties rose seven percent ~ from thirty-five to forty-two percent ~ the highest in the county. The District will realize a two thousand dollar loss in revenue.
  • Submitted his standard SM2 Report indicating revenues were down ninety-one thousand dollars and expenses down ninety-five thousand dollars for the same six-month period as last year. The District is currently tracking four thousand dollars better than a year ago. (Revenue will continue to drop with decreases in Foundation Funding.)
  • Grades 7-12 Principal David Kennedy
  • Congratulated Travis Siebenaler and Carson Brandt on placing first and second, respectively, in the school’s recent Spelling Bee; they will compete in the County Spelling Bee January 22.
  • Shared results from the ACT PLAN (grades 9 and 10) and ACT EXPLORE Tests (grades 7 and 8) indicated the overall composite average had increased annually; students are making good gains. Special thanks were extended to the staff and students for their hard work in preparing for the tests.
  • Thanked Carrie Vollmer-Sanders for her recent Be Your STAR presentation for seniors and Edon Lions Club for sponsoring the program.
  • Noted several upcoming events, including the end of the First Semester (January 11); Financial Aid Workshop (January 14); National Honor Society Recognition Dinner (January 15); distribution of grade cards (January 18) and No School ~ Martin Luther King Day (January 21).

Grades KK-6 Principal Bonnie Troyer

  • Recognized December’s Bomber Courtesy Club members.
  • Thanked those parents who helped sponsor the Elementary School’s annual Santa Store; students enjoyed the experience of doing their own Christmas shopping for family and friends.

Technology Coordinator Molly Miller

  • Noted grade card preparations for the end of the grading period were underway; arrangements for the switchover from Honeywell Instant Alert to BLI Messaging Power were being finalized; the Technology Committee would meet January 16.
  • Shared she and Kris Dobbelaere were working with NWOET for the February 15 Teacher In-Service day Seminar; the presentation will address incorporating the “Bring Your Own Device” program into classrooms (what works, what doesn’t, etc.)

Superintendent Ed Ewers

  • Noted the Allyson Word Memorial plaque is nearing completion; the project, including lighting, should be finished next month. A dedication night will be announced at a later date.
  • Shared changes to student drop-off and pick-up procedures, dismissing, etc. seem to be working well with few interruptions; thanks to parents and the community for their cooperation. Everyone was reminded to exit in a safe and orderly fashion and to pay attention to crossing guards on the grounds.

In other action taken, the Board:

  • Approved Cash Donations from Box Tops for Education ($370.25 apiece to the Elementary and High School Principal’s Funds); Anonymous ($5.00 ~ Class of 2013); Various Individuals/Businesses ($9.50 ~ Post Prom) and a Gift Donation from Edon Athletic Boosters ($170.98 ~ basketball mannequin).
  • Approved the contract with OSBA (Ohio School Boards Association) for policy revisions ($650).
  • Approved the FFA Leadership Conference trip to Columbus January 19-20, 2013.
  • Approved a Special Education Waiver for 2012-2013 as part of the application process to the State; the District’s program is outside the sixty-month age window (from youngest to oldest in the classroom) by eighteen days.
  • Approved a three-year contract with Northern Buckeye Education Council for BLI Messaging Power Announcement at a rate of $1.25 per student per year. (Replaces the Honeywell Alert System whose contract was ending. Messaging Power not only expands instant alert capabilities for the District, but is a cost-saving measure as well.)
  • Accepted, with regret, Jay Klingler’s resignation as bus driver effective January 1, 2013; he will remain on the substitute list.
  • Approved 2012-2013 contracts with Mike Livensparger (Regular Bus Route for 1.25 hours, effective January 7, 2013); Gene Dargitz, Jim Whitman, Trevor Thiel (substitute custodians) and Lisa Coolman (substitute secretary).
  • Approved the 2012-2013 Junior Varsity Softball Coach’s supplemental contract with Larry Thiel. (Mr. Thiel has previously served as a volunteer coach; no current school personnel sought the position.)
  • Approved Kim Hickman’s amended 2012-2013 regular bus route from 2.50 hours to 3.00 hours retroactive to October 11, 2012.
  • Approved minutes from the regular Board meeting held Tuesday, December 11.
  • Approved Financial Reports for December 2012 along with the Amended Certificate of Estimated Resources and Permanent Appropriation Increases/Decreases for FY 2013.

With all business addressed, Board members voted to enter into Executive Session to discuss the employment of public employees and student discipline; Duane Thiel and Joey Thiel were invited by the Board into the session. No action was expected to be taken.

The Edon Northwest Local Board of Education will next meet Tuesday, February 12, 2013 in the school’s Media Center beginning at 6:30 p.m.

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