MINSTER – The Minster Board of Education met in regular session Monday evening, March 15, to accept a playground expansion grant and to hear updates on legislation related to education.
The board accepted a $2,500 from the Lima Area Chamber Foundation for playground expansion under that chamber’s “Activated School Challenge.” This challenge supports projects that support student health, nutrition and well being. The playground expansion includes an area for imaginative/creative play which falls within the guidelines of this grant. K-8 principal Leanne Keller applied for the grant.
In reports from Superintendent Brenda Boeke the board heard updates on legislation being monitored at the state level.
Boeke said HB 200, written to improve the School Report Card system would replace the “A-F” system with ratings of “significantly exceeds expectations.” “meets expectation.” “significantly approaching expectations.” “moderately approaching expectations” and “in need of support.” She said this would end the overall grade of buildings and school districts.
Boeke also said H.B. 1, called the Ohio Fair School Funding plan, is expected to move to the Ohio Senate by March. She added the Ohio School Board’s Association (OSBA), The Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO), and the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA) have focused their energy and contacts on the Senate.
She said it was hoped that school district leaders and Board of Education members would engage with their Senators to discuss how to pay for the Fair School Funding Plan without a tax increase, assess the constitutionality of the Fair School Funding Plan and promote the accuracy of the assumptions and analysis to support the Fair School Funding Plan.
She said that H.B. 67, which would exempt public and chartered nonpublic schools from administering state assessments in the 2020-21 school year, could not possibly be ready until at least June. As a result, she said, the district is moving ahead with plans for students to take the state assessments as has been done in the past.
Principal Keller updated the board on the number of students receiving ‘Yearn to learn, Embrace struggle, and Take a risk (YET)” cards as part of the district-wide Positive Behavior and Interventions Supports (PBIS) system. To date, she said 177 students have eaten at the “Table of Honor.”
Keller also said Grandparents Day and open house would be celebrated differently this next week, with the students mailing letters of love and school happenings to their grandparents. Grades K-3 are participating, and some of the older students as well.
She added they are looking toward May for open house, with a modified version to include performances by second grade, third grade, and choir. Rather than an in-person open house, they will share a video of some school highlights, with hopes of bringing back a true open house next school year.
Junior/Senior Principal Austin Kaylor’s report was presented by Boeke and school adviser Melissa Ultrup since Kaylor was participating in the Washington DC trip meeting for seventh-grade parents.
Under student achievement, Kaylor congratulationed juniors Chandler Hoskins and Natalie Hoying on being selected to attend the 2021 Buckeye Boys/Girls State programs. Both students are being sponsored by the American Legion and Legion Auxiliary (respectively).
He also reported that the boys and girls varsity basketball teams wrapped up successful seasons recently. The boys won a sectional championship before falling to eventual district champion New Bremen. They ended up 19-5 on the season (9-0 in MAC). The girls team captured sectional and district championships before falling to eventual regional champion Fort Loramie. They finished the season 24-2 (9-0 in MAC).
Under curriculum and instruction, Kaylor said student-led conferences were done as an at-home format this year due to COVID. Despite the altered format, he said, participation rates were once again very strong.
Finally he reported the concert and symphonic bands are competing in the OMEA district contest virtually this year. The bands will be submitted recorded performances within certain protocols set forth by the OMEA.
School District Treasurer Laura Klosterman reported much of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief or ESSER II funds have been spent on chromebook licenses for the third-grade chromebooks and as well as teacher monitors.
She added that additional funds will be used for summer school, reimbursing the athletic fund for lost revenue and for creating the Makerspace program. Additionally, if ESSER III funds are dispersed according to reports, she said the District should receive $312,000.
Finally Klosterman said the Auglaize County Real Estate Settlement is showing a $61,908 decrease in property tax collection from the forecast.
In new business the board approved the Ohio Teacher’s Standards Based Teacher Evaluations System 2.0 Policy. They also approved a resolution to authorize the taking of the third grade ELA state assessment in paper format for the 2021-22 school year.
In personnel recommendations the board approved Sharon Ernst as a long term substitute for the second semester, Mike Wiss as the recreation field manager, James Sharp and Rebecca Baumer as track coaches and volunteers Paxton Caldwell, Broc Miller, Ethan Monnin for track and Mara Schmiesing for softball.
The board then went into executive session for the purpose of employment and compensation of a public employee but no action was taken.
The next regular board of education meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 19, 2021, at 7 p.m.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.