By Kelsey Kimbler
CAMDEN — Preble Shawnee Board of Education met Thursday, Jan. 5, for its organizational and regular meeting.
During regular business, board members discussed course retakes and the new graduation standards. The new standards state students must take seven end-of-course state tests. Students can earn up to five points on each, depending on their performance on the tests. However, to graduate the students must earn 18 points.
These tests are designed to give students the flexibility to test better in some subjects than in others. They are meant to encourage students to have a high subject and a low subject, but 18 points may be proving to be too many for the students to earn, according to school officials.
Many students at Preble Shawnee are having to retake the end-of-course exams for extra points. As Superintendent Bishop pointed out, “There’s going to be a significant number of students not graduating compared to the OGTs.”
Before course retakes, 30 percent of Shawnee juniors were at risk for not having enough points to graduate next year. This is not just a Preble Shawnee issue, school officials said. The average for at-risk juniors in Preble County is 30 percent.
The state average is also close to 30 percent.
In other business:
•The 2017-2018 school calendar was presented for comments from the board. The calender was not yet up for approval, but in February the board will vote to approve it. Bishop noted, the calender is “very similar to this year’s,” but that it adds a teacher work day at the beginning of the school year.
•The board’s agenda lumped together several subjects together for approval. All items passed 4-1, with board member Charlie Biggs voting against them.
These subjects included: approval of Nov. 10 minutes; approval of the financial report for Nov. 30 and Dec. 31; approval of a transfer from General Fund to Food Service in the amount of $10,000; approval of dates for the regular board meetings for 2017. The board will keep a Feb. 16 board work session as planned at 4 p.m., but after that meeting meetings will be on the second Thursday of every month at 6 p.m.
Also included was: approval of the IRS standard mileage rate of 53.5 cents per mile; renewal of the board’s annual membership in the Ohio School Boards Association at a cost of $4,702; approval of OSBA 2017 legal assistance fund membership; approval of the board of education member salary of $125 per meeting for up to 24 meetings per year; and approval of a standard rental service agreement with Cintas.
Also included on the consent agenda was approval of a resolution to proceed with placing the bond issue and income tax levy on the ballot in May. There was no further discussion on this topic.
The board also discussed the approval of a mowing and snow removal contract extension. A current contract with Chip House runs through 2018, but they are seeking an extension through 2020. Due to complaints the board has had regarding the current mowing and snow removal, they decided to table this extension until the end of the school year. They will discuss the complaints with House and if improvement is shown, the board will consider renewing the contract.
Bishop reported on certificated and licensed personnel matters, including:
•A contract amendment to Danielle M. Hinckley’s one year teaching contract from Bachelor’s step 0 to Bachelor’s step 1.
•A long term building substitute teacher employment of Lauryn Cooper, effective Jan. 11.
•A request for unpaid leave of absence from Gina Smallwood.
•Approval of Chris Perry’s contract resignation.
Bishop also reported on:
•Atlanta Moore’s request for unpaid leave of absence.
•The employment of the following personnel as classified employee substitutes: Cheryl Bowman, Kim King, Hannah Hurd, Tracey Lane, Amy Jones, Daniel Glander, James Schenck, and Alice Hill.
The board approved supplemental contracts for one year for the following personnel: Josh Hatmaker, Jeff Lynch, Brad Wright, Stefanie Hurley, Dave Hubbard, Greg Fields, Mike Cottingim, Justin Maniaci, Layla Koons, and Cody McPherson.
Board members also approved two wrestling overnight trips. One will be Jan. 27-28 for the Lima Central Catholic Invitational and the other on Feb. 24-25 for the OHSAA Sectional Wrestling Tournament in Blanchester.
The last report of the superintendent was to recognize efforts of the school staff and administration.
It is National School Board Recognition Month, so Bishop took time to recognize Preble Shawnee’s Board of Education for their “extraordinary dedication.” He also recognized David Lewis, Layla Koons, Cody McPherson, and Joetta Lawson for their efforts on the Christmas programs. He drew attention to a “Breakout” session Preble Shawnee students in grades 7-8 participated in on the last day before Christmas break. They were locked in a room with “clues” as to how to escape and had to work together to get out. Bishop reported that “the experience was well received by the students and staff.”
Under new business, Hamblin discussed how to involve students who are taking college classes in the typical senior year experience. She reported some students almost missed their senior pictures because they were not receiving notifications, because they are not in the school for the typical school day. The board resolved to look into the issue and come up with a solution.
During discussion the board recognized Superintendent Bishop for the “good things” they have been hearing about him from the community.
In the organizational meeting prior to the regular, the board opened the meeting with the nomination and election of board president and vice president for 2017.
Candi Fyffe was nominated and chosen board president-elect.
For board vice president, Gary Rader and Hamblin were nominated for the position. Hamblin withdrew her name from the vote and Rader was declared vice president-elect.
After the president and vice president took their oath of office, board members to 2017 committees were made.
•Rader and Fyffe volunteer to sit on the athletics committee. They will review and make suggestions on all things that deal with school athletics, including athletic boosters and athletic council.
•Hamblin and Board Member Jeff Wood volunteered to sit on the course of study/curriculum committee. They will review and make suggestions for all educational courses/studies during a regular school day, including music booster, agriculture committee and district leadership team.
•Wood and Rader volunteered to sit on the facilities committee, which includes all school district buildings and grounds, maintenance and technology.
•Fyffe and Hamblin volunteered to sit on the wellness committee, which is concerned with health and safety issues, finance, food service and transportation.
•Biggs and Hamblin volunteered to sit on the community and staff relations committee, which is concerned with continuous improvement of district, legislative liaison, student achievement liaison, staff negotiations and sick bank committee.
Board members approved all of the organizational resolutions and actions in one vote, including:
•A resolution for waiver of reading minutes from previous meetings.
•A resolution renewing legal services. This will designate the law firm of Bricker & Eckler, LPP as the board’s general legal counsel.
•A resolution establishing a service fund in the amount of $7,500 for the board.
•A resolution adopting treasurer’s standing authorization for 2017.
•A resolution adopting the superintendent’s standing authorizations for 2017.
The next Preble Shawnee Board of Education meeting will be on Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. at the PS Board of Education office.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH
Reach Kelsey Kimbler 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH