Botkins School board discusses finances, technology

By Heather Willard -

BOTKINS — Botkins Local Schools treasurer Jody Jones presented the Board of Education with the five-year forecast during the Wednesday evening meeting.

The school remains in a position to continue operations with its current budget, but many funds are in the negative following the purchase of textbooks and other necessities. Jones said she will either transfer money to make them positive or wait as money filters in throughout the next few months. The athletic fund is up by about $2,000, and payroll expenses are up by around $22,000, mostly due to raises.

“The year to date is on track,” she told the board.

The board also heard from Keith Puschel, the district’s technology coordinator. Ohio Law now requires the school district to have a district technology plan for the next few years. Puschel noted a few items on the plan, including changing access points for the school and moving them to the library, gym and cafeteria. This would allow him to move the current access points to the sports complex and allow them to have wifi through the entire complex.

“This building starts with technology at the door,” Puschel said to explain his approach to the plan. “But it’s all about the kids in the classroom.”

Puschel also expressed concern about his unique position at the school, as he has no backup. He proposed creating a sort of information technology department to give the school a backup who knows the system. He noted that having some help would also allow him to work with teachers in the classrooms, giving them instructions on how to utilize more functions on their devices, such as drawing tablets.

The board asked for him to thoroughly plan what the other position would do, what other responsibilities he would have and how the process would work and return to the board for approval.

A discussion on what to do with the storage building on State Street ended with Superintendent Jeff McPheron agreeing to speak with Village Administrator Randy Purdy about selling them the property for $1. The agreement would allow the village to deconstruct the building without the school being liable for anything that might go wrong.

The board hired four substitute teachers at a rate of $90 per hour: Lydia Rinehart, Claire Pusey, Florence Caruthers and Angelique Ranly.

The board also hired Tim Hatcher to work as the JV girls basketball coach, but have not released a salary yet, and Kristin Ruppert as an after-school tutor at a rate of $19.50 per hour.

The board accepted the resignation of Emily Gill, who was working as a cafeteria worker, and hired Cynthia Cox as part-time cafeteria worker and Jayme McCullough as substitute cafeteria worker. They also approved the revisions to the OASBO Section 457 Plan to keep it current according to state law.

McPheron asked the board to commend several students for their achievements. The board extended commendations to the Horse Judging Team, which placed first at the Big E Livestock Judging Contest, the Livestock Judging Team, which place second at the Big E Livestock Judging Contest and to Nicholas Fischio, who was the SCAL Golf Champion and player of the year, as well as becoming a district qualifier.

The board also accepted a donation of $2,245 from Barb Roberts for the Jeff Roberts Scholarship fund.

In his report, Superintendent McPheron noted that the Gulf Food Center, 501 E. State St., was bought and because they have a liquor license and are within 500 feet of the school, they were required to notify the school. The school could appeal the license if they wanted, but since this is not a new license, the board opted not to.

High School Principal Ryan Loy noted that the students that competed in the WhizQuiz TV competition won their first two matches but lost when they came back. He said he thought it was the first time he’s heard of Botkins kids winning during the competition.

The next Botkins Board of Education meeting will be Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. in the media center.

By Heather Willard

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825; Follow the SDN on Facebook and Twitter @sidneydailynews.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825; Follow the SDN on Facebook and Twitter @sidneydailynews.