HOUSTON – The Hardin-Houston Local School District’s Board of Education honored members of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and heard the district’s State of the District address Monday evening.
Superintendent Larry Claypool honored Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart, Lt. Cori Steiner, Detective Chris Brown, Detective Dave Spicer, Deputy Bill Booth and Deputy Brian Strunk during Monday’s board meeting.
“You’ve made it possible for us to have a safe environment for our students and staff,” Claypool said. “You guys have worked tirelessly to put us in a position where we can be protected and safe from any situation that might transpire.”
Claypool also presented Lenhart with a Houston cap and a certificate naming him an honorary Wildcat.
“It’s with great pleasure that we offer to you an honorary Wildcat certificate and a hat – that has never been worn,” Claypool said. “And you are one of us.”
By working with Hardin-Houston Schools and other districts in the county, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office has strived to keep students and staff safe, Lenhart said.
“The school board members and this management here, we have done things that other folks across the state and the nation kind of envy us. We have put ourselves in a position to have some of the safest schools in the state and in the nation,” the sheriff said. “It was a team effort with a minimal amount of money to do that. And I’m so very proud of not only this school but of all the schools.”
During reports, Treasurer Amy Ayers reported that the school received a $230 donation from the Ruth Heins Memorial for the Athletic Fund and another $300 donation for that fund. For the Press Box Fund, the school received donations of $112 from the Wenrick Memorial, $25 from the McKinney Memorial and $250 from the Delmar Webb Memorial.
High School Principal Ryan Maier reported the school received 46 applications for a seventh and ninth grade math teacher position. Maier narrowed the field to nine candidates for interviews and will have a second round of interviews with three finalists before selecting someone to fill the position.
Elementary Principal Sara Roseberry expressed concern that students didn’t take statewide testing as seriously as they should.
“It went off without a hitch except for the fact that kids really did not put much effort into it,” she said. “They are so desensitized to testing now. It’s hard to get them to care about anything. We’re going to have to figure out a way to light a fire under them and help them understand how important it is not only to them but certainly to us and the school.”
Board of Education Vice President Bill Clark said apathy to testing is common in schools beyond Houston and said the tests mean nothing to the students.
The scores do matter to the teachers, Roseberry said, as she hoped to find a way to get students more interested in the tests.
During his State of the District presentation, Claypool reported Hardin-Houston Schools have 837 students, which is down from 884 a year ago. At Hardin-Houston Schools, 32 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced price lunches.
Hardin-Houston has 222 students classified as having disabilities, which is 14.6 percent of the student body. That is slightly above the national average of 13 percent and slightly below Ohio’s average of 15 percent.
The school has 129 students identified as gifted, which is up from 116 a year ago.
The cost to educate a student at Hardin-Houston Schools is $8,968, which is 106th most out of 165 similar sized districts in Ohio. The school’s annual budget increased above $10 million a year during the 2017-18 school year.
Claypool reported the school had 10 reports of bullying during the 2018-19 school year, two of which were confirmed instances.
In other business, the board:
• Approved membership in the Ohio High School Athletic Association for the seventh through 12th grades.
• Approved one-year supplemental contacts for the 2019-20 school year for Ron Boeke as junior high/high school boys cross country coach (½), $1,149.20; Bill McKinney as junior high/high school boys cross country coach (½), $1,149.20; Ron Boeke as junior high/high school girls cross country coach (½), $1,149.20; Bill McKinney as junior high/high school girls cross country coach (½), $1,149.20; Misty Gibson as varsity volleyball coach, $5,119.15; Brianna Garber as junior varsity volleyball coach, $1,915.33; Sara Mowery as seventh grade volleyball coach, $1,671.56; Gina Maier as eighth grade volleyball coach, $2,089.45; and Nate Fridley as golf coach, $2,298.39
• Approved a stipend of $4,000 to Becky Heitman as transportation coordinator for the 2019-20 school year
• Approved extended time contacts for the 2019-20 school year, as per adopted salary schedule per diem rate, for Stephanie Merickel, guidance counselor, up to 20 days, $7,117.06; David Reister, band director, up to 15 days, $5,811.00; Abby Pleiman, FCCLA, up to 10 days; $3,035.24; and Janet McClurg, librarian, up to 10 days, $3,682.22
• Approved the dates for Earth Lab Summer School as June 10-14
• Approved Charlotte Phipps, Donna Long, Molly McKee, Deb Smith, Samantha Smith and Jennifer Turner as 21st Century Grant Earth Lab Summer School teachers at a rate of $30 per hour
• Approved the payment in lieu of transportation rate for the 2019-20 school year at $600 per student
• Accepted the registration of Haley Slonkosky as junior varsity girls basketball coach effective immediately
• Approved the preschool education contact between Hardin-Houston Local School District and the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years
• Approved the service contact between the Hardin-Houston Local School District and the Sidney-Shelby County Board of Health for the 2019-20 school year
• Approved the payment of $75 per personal day remaining for classified staff members effective beginning with the 2018-19 school year
• Approved up to 10 per diem days for incoming Superintendent Ryan Maier and incoming high school Principal Jeff Judy to be used prior to their Aug. 1 contract start date
• Approved a change in the dates for the FFA camp from June 29-July 3 to June 24-June 28
• Approved the volleyball camp dates of 8:30 a.m.-noon July 8-11 for high school and 3:15-5:15 p.m. June 20-22 for junior high
• Approved three days unpaid suspension of duties for bus driver Lisa Ventura-Pickering for insubordination as a result of three days without pay unauthorized leave of absence. Board member Christine Helman was the lone no vote.
The next board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 17 in the school’s media center.
Reach this writer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-538-4824.