CAMDEN — Preble Shawnee Board of Education members discussed senior prom plans, hybrid learning, and passed a resolution of necessity to place a .75-percent income tax levy on the ballot during their final meeting of the calendar year on Thursday, Dec. 10.
The measure, which would cost taxpayers in the district $.75 for every $100 of income for a term of five years, has been defeated at the polls repeatedly since last being renewed in 2010.
As previously reported by The Register-Herald, the district is projecting serious financial shortfalls by the end of the 2022-23 school year if the levy once again fails to pass.
According to Superintendent Dr. Matt Bishop, this could result in state intervention, cuts to personnel, bussing and other student services, and sports programs moving to a “Pay to Play” model that would place heavy financial burdens on the families of participants.
The resolution was approved unanimously and with little discussion on Thursday; board members Nick Duskey and Gary Rader were not present.
2021 Senior Prom
Shawnee senior and student senate member Chad Doran told board members that “morale has been low” among seniors during the current school year due to fears that they might miss out on the opportunity to participate in high school milestones such as prom.
“We definitely want to attempt to have some sort of prom. We were unable to have one last year, just like last year’s seniors,” Doran said.
Efforts to raise money for prom-related expenses have also been curtailed by restrictions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to Doran. Board president Julie Singleton was sympathetic to the students’ position.
“In regards to those senior moments that everyone’s missing – I’m not promising, because who am I to promise? But I’m sure something can be figured out.”
Superintendent Bishop expressed similar sentiments.
“If there’s any way we can possibly do it, we will do it,” Bishop said.
One-to-One Chromebook Proposal
Curriculum Director Dr. Jaime Ranly and Technology Coordinator Jeff Johnson updated the board on the school district’s 1:1 ChromeBook Proposal, a plan to put a personal Chromebook in the hands of every Preble Shawnee fifth through twelfth-grade student by the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.
The Chromebooks would add approximately $50 to fifth through twelfth-grade student fees for a period of four years. After those four years, the Chromebook will become the personal property of the student, according to Ranly.
The need for a one-to-one plan “really smacked us in the face this year” due to school closures necessitated by COVID-19, according to Ranly.
“The need is dire,” Ranly said.
“Every year we’ve been adding more and more Chromebooks with the hopes to get there,” Bishop said.
“The great thing about hybrid learning is that it’s here to stay,” Ranly continued, referring to education that includes both in-class and at-home/online components. “Our teachers are excited about implementing it, but we don’t have the equipment yet to implement it in a meaningful way.”
The plan will also save the school district money on textbooks, Ranly said, by requiring only one set of books per classroom as opposed to multiple sets that students must take home from school every day. The board will vote on whether to move forward with the plan in the spring, according to Bishop.
The next meeting of the Preble Shawnee Local School District Board of Education will take place Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 at 6 p.m. in the Junior and Senior High School Media Center.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish