School District Receiving Some Grant Monies

By Jane Ernsberger
Times-Junction News Editor

The Willard City Schools are starting to get some grant money, according to district treasurer Cynthia Shoup.

"We are also doing some desk audits with them," she told members of the board of education. "As they do their desk audits, they release the money."

Shoup said the district is getting ready for a "huge" audit with the migrant title programs. "We will find out how well it goes Aug. 24."

The Race to the Top program for the Willard City Schools is able to apply for a fifth year no cost extension. This meant the district had to turn in an amended budget for year five and an updated plan.

The district will now be able to carryover any unspent funds. The money is used for teacher development.

"Right now, that is about $104,000," noted superintendent Jeff Ritz. "We can carry that over for next year."

Ritz also gave board members an update on the construction of the new K-12 building. The foundations have been poured for the high school and the main reception area.

He also gave board members the opportunity to get a better understanding of the timeline for moving into the building in 2015.

"June 1 is the last day for teacher work area at this time next year," Ritz explained. "You can look at these dates and see when we have to be out of those buildings. For Richmond and New Haven, it's going to be three days."

Dates for the auctions have been set for those buildings. Ritz said he set the calendars in several different ways for the board's review. After talking with the general contractor, the dates are "pretty well set in stone."

"We are not going to have a lot of time," Ritz pointed out. "This is a rough draft for the dates.

"We will be able to start moving things in on August 4," he added. "We will be able to have the teachers in on August 10. School starts August 24 is what it looks like. We are ahead of schedule and under budget."

On April 22 at the monthly construction meeting with the contractor, Ritz said board members will get the chance to go over the timeline and the final bids. "There's going to be a lot of discussions," he noted.

One big area of concern is a door for a loading dock which comes into the main building. The garage door is only three-feet coming off the loading dock.

"There's no way you are going to be able to put things on the loading dock and get it through that three-foot door," Ritz pointed out. "It was an oversight on everybody's side. At the meeting it's going to be to decide what to do with that."

Ritz told board members the stated use by contractors is to use the area for storage for mowers and snow blowers.

"The fire code doesn't allow you to store that in the main building," he said. "That's why we have to look at that. It can't be used for what they designed it for."

Ritz said the suggestion will be to make the opening bigger. "It's going to be decided at that meeting."

"It sounds like nothing more than widening that opening," noted board of education president Dr. Jim Rosso. "At our expense."

The members of the board of education accepted the following retirements/resignations:

• Jean Lydy - elementary teacher;

• Steve Vipperman - assistant athletic director, and

• Kristen Hall - middle school winter cheer coach.

Kathy Tuttle was approved by the board as a substitute teacher. Amy Chandler was recalled from the Reduction in Force List as an educational aide, effective March 24. Samantha Barnett was approved as a volunteer at Central Elementary School.

Two additional extended days were approved for Scott Graybeal, who is a certified employee. Ritz said he will work with installing new computers.

The following were also approved by the board of education:

• Employment and/or non-renewal for auxiliary services staff at St. Francis Xavier School;

• A three-day early release for the seniors with the last day being May 23 and commencement practice on May 30;

• Job descriptions for the migrant teacher and migrant bilingual aide for the summer migrant school;

• K-5 math curriculum beginning with the 2014-2015 school year using McGraw Hill's "My Math;"

• Accept a $3,000 Fisher-Titus grant;

• Approve the high school and middle school winter gate receipts, and

• Approve an easement from AEP on six poles to be relocated for the new K-12 building.

A federal title programs dispute policy was approved. Ritz said this is for any student involved in a federal program. The policy gives those students a process to appeal to the federal government.

The following agreements were approved by the board of education:

• North Point Educational Service Center;

• Property and liability insurance, fleet and excess liability umbrella coverage through Lindsey Insurance, effective March 23, 2014 through March 23, 2015, and

• Lindsey Insurance for student accident insurance.

The board of education also approved using PlugSmart for the DDC control system in the Haas Gymnasium. Ritz said the present controls are 25 years old.

"They don't work right anymore," he pointed out. "If we want to update them by the existing company, which we need to do, they will still be outdated. They don't make them anymore."

Ritz said there was also a choice to use the company building the new school. The cost would have been approximately $50,000.

"We are going to recommend you go with PlugSmart, which is the company who put all the new heating in," he said. "It is significantly less."

The cost, he noted, with PlugSmart will be $8,751 to bring the system up to date.

Ritz also spoke about the upcoming renewal of an emergency operating levy which will be on the May ballot.

The Ohio Teacher Evaluations and the Ohio Principal Evaluations are coming up, Ritz said.

"May 1 is the first round," he told board members. "It's our first year for this. The difference in this now is it allows boards to basically put teachers on notice.

"Every teacher has to be evaluated," Ritz stated. "In years past before this, it was only those up for contracts. You might only have about 20 of your teachers up for a new contract."

Principals, he added, have to evaluate every teacher, every year, unless they perform outstanding. Then it is every three years.

"We are moving the May board meeting from May 12 to May 15," Ritz told board members. "May 12 will be the date for us scheduled to meet with principals to talk about contracts. Then May 15 will be the actual board meeting.

"The reason you do that, is if you don't do this, it pushes everything back," Ritz explained. "In order for a board to act on a teacher, in other words to non-renew them or put them on some sort of sanction, you have to do it after this May board meeting."

Ritz said that was the reason for holding the May board meeting after the special meeting on May 12. This eliminated any need to schedule a third board meeting in May. At the May 12 meeting, the board will go into executive session to discuss the evaluations.

The Willard City Schools Board of Education went into executive session for the consideration of the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion or compensation of a public employee or official; and also for the preparation for conduct or review of negotiations or bargaining sessions with public employees concerning their compensation or other terms and conditions of employment. No action followed.

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