PIQUA — There was much concern among Upper Valley Career Center Board of Education members on Monday in regard to a new amendment added to the Ohio House Bill 70 that would allow a CEO to oversee a school district with an Academic Distress Commission.
Although Upper Valley CC’s most recent grade report from the state shows all A’s, this is still an issue that the board is strongly against and would not want this new form of administration to carry out at the Career Center had they had an Academic Distress Commission, such as Youngstown City Schools.
“If they did it in Youngstown, could they do it in other districts,” board member Bob Luby said. “That’s a huge problem … (this is being done) to charter schools, but now public schools.” He also stated that he believes this to be another case where legislation thinks they know how to operate public education over those who live it daily.
Passing this act is meant to help schools that are suffering academically to be guided by a higher power. Many are upset with this change due to being passed with no input from taxpayers, education administrators, or parents. The CEO’s paycheck would come out of state funds.
“When you avoid everybody and do under the cover of darkness … just throw this at the community … to me, is not right and not fair,” Luby said. “I’m condemning the method of how it was done, not condemning the final product.”
The board voted to send a letter to express their concerns to the state superintendent, Ohio Board of Education and the General Assembly of the State of Ohio. The bill will be effective on Oct. 15 unless Ohio school districts win their wishes.
Superintendent Dr. Nancy Luce reported that the beginning of the school year has gone “very smoothly,” with enrollment at 850 students and all staff positions filled. There have been 13 drops and seven adds to the school so far this year. Most drops occur yearly due to some students graduating as juniors or going back to their associate schools.
Luce said the district was well-represented at the Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education in July, when Luce accepted an award as Administrator of the Year, with other staff members recognized during the awards ceremony as well. Luce brought the award to the meeting on Monday to show board members.
Pat Gibson, director of business operations, gave a project update report showing a three- to five-year outlook and proposal on future projects for the Career Center. There were 22 items on the list including roof replacement of the 23-year-old roof on the Adult Tech Center, expansion of bus/van garage, and resurfacing the parking lot of main campus. The total estimated cost comes to $1,199,950 and would mostly come from general fund dollars.
The property tax income for career centers are phasing out, with Upper Valley CC losing $333,000 in tangible personal tax property this year and is expected to lose more the following year, Treasurer Paul Carpenter reported.
“I think that there is a mindset that career centers have large carry-over balances … we were not one of them,” Carpenter said. “We are within normal range and considered an outlier. This is going to impact us more significantly than most career centers.”
Carpenter said career centers might have been excluded from this bill due to some legislatures not thinking about career centers and the cogency that they need the supplement as much as others schools.
A Piqua policeman and a Miami County Sheriff officer will alternate days as a school resource officer during school session. The UVCC has not had an SRO since Luce has been superintendent. The SRO will provide more security and allow disputes to be carried out more effectively.
The board approved of the following items:
• Monsanto Fund Grand in the amount of $10,000 for Ag satellite program Chromebooks.
• Sub-grant agreement for Dayton Logistics Grant in the amount of $15,000 for grant implementation services provided by Upper Valley CC.
• Purchase order in the amount of $21,000 to Reiter Dairy for 2015-16 cafeteria operations.
• Purchase order in the amount of $16,500 to Coca Cola for 2015-16 cafeteria operations.
• Purchase order to Levin Porter & Associates in the amount of $16,500 for the bus/van garage expansion project.
• Purchase order in the amount of $23,850 to ATI Testing for the Adult Division LPN testing.
• The Microsoft Lease Agreement to CDW Government in the amount of $23,772.80.
• The donation of 19 pairs of steel-toe work boots to the UVCC Student Assistance Program, donated by Perrico LLC.
Reach Amy Barger at (937) 451-3340.