Humble updates distance learning status

Meeting held via YouTube

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — For the first time in Sidney City Schools Board of Education history, the board members’ chairs in the meeting room were empty as they followed Gov. Mike DeWine’s stay-a-home order and held its meeting via YouTube Monday night.

Superintendent Bob Humble updated the board on DeWine’s decision to continue remote learning for the remainder of the school year.

“Pre-K through second grade will have some digital learning opportunities and have paper options available for parents to pick up,” said Humble.

The work is for a two-week period of time and parents have the option to return the paper work to the school where they picked it up. Bins are available for the work to be placed in. No grades will be give for Pre-K to second grade.

“Feedback will be offered,: said Humble. “The teachers are making a continued effort to make contact with the students.”

Grades three to 12, he said, will continue using Google classroom. There will be no grades for grades three and four. Grades will be given to students in grades five through 12 with administrators monitoring the grades.

“Teachers have office hours for the parents to reach out to them,” said Humble.

Humble said the district conducted a survey to see how the distance learning was working. A total of 511 people responded to the survey.

“The responses were all over the map,” said Humble.

Responses included “it’s going well,” “it’s driving me crazy” and concerns from parents who are working.

“There’s a possibility of us shortening the school year,” said Humble. “We’ll be talking about that at another time.”

Humble said a graduation ceremony is tentatively scheduled for June 20 if the original date can’t be held. Prom is being planned for June 6.

“The governor is leaving it up to the schools on how to do graduation and prom,” said Humble. “These are options we’ve thrown out to the high school team. Graduation may still be Memorial Day Weekend.”

While the March 17 Primary Election results still aren’t known, the board took the first step to place the same emergency levy on the Aug. 4 special election.

“This is highly unusual,” said Treasurer Mike Watkins, “conside4ing we’re waiting on the results of the current levy due to the delay and the way the votes are being received and counted. We need to get the new levy on the Aug. 4 election is we should not be success with this one (March 17).

Ballots will be counted April 28 at the Shelby County Board of Elections. Results will be certified on May 11.

“We have to submit a resolution to proceed with the levy to the county auditor by May 1. Once they return the information, by May 6, we have to submit a resolution to proceed to the board of elections,” said Watkins. “We can withdraw the issue from the ballot if we receive a March 17 approval.”

Watkins said the auditor can return the information to the district by Thursday. A special meeting will be held Monday, April 27, at p.m. to approve the resolution that has to be submitted to the board of elections.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the purchase of a 14-foot Bat Wing Grooming Mower and front mount Z-Tun mower plus accessories from Apple Farm Supply at a cost of $30,778.66. Watkins said the district received a $10,000 education credit from Apple Farm Supply. The current lawn movers have been sold for $15,000.

• Held the first reading of new/revised policies for the district. They will be adopted at the next board meeting.

• Approved a one year agreement with T-Mobile for Education program for use of data hot spots at a cost of $20 per month per line with the initial use of up to 175 lines. The hot spots are proving internet service to students who do not have internet access.

• Hired Alexandra Davis and Alaina Sayre as high school science teachers. Their contract will begin Aug. 30, 2020, and they will be paid $40,851 per year.

Hired Cari Allison, Steve Corbin, Jon Geuy and Jerry Inman as seasonal workers at $15.60 per hour from April 1 to June 30. Scott Roddy was hired as a substitute seasonal worker at $15.60 per hour.

• Approved a resolution for the remote learning contingency plan.

• Approved a resolution for the 2019-20 teacher and administrative evaluations. “We’ll get as many of them completed as possible,” said Humble. “If the teacher can’t complete the SLO (Student Learning Objective) then the evaluation rolls over to next year.”

• Approved a resolution approving the meeting to be held via electronic technology.

• Approved the Latchkey parent/student handbook and employee handbook.

• At one time during the meeting, 50 people were viewing the proceedings.

Meeting held via YouTube

By Melanie Speicher