MINSTER – Future management of the Minster School District was discussed at the March 19 Minster School Board meeting.
Superintendent Brenda Boeke reported to the Board of Education on the two bills now in the Ohio Legislature that are felt will damage the educational system in Ohio.
In regards to House Bill 512, introduced last month, the bill that would combine all the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Department Higher Education, and the Governor’s Workforce Transformation into what Superintendent which Boeke called “a “new mega state agency called the Department of Learning and Achievement.” Boeke said this new agency, reporting directly to the governor, will result in a “vast difference in needs served by the PreK – 12 grade school districts” as opposed to higher education institutions and workforce development. She added that there was an additional concern about a possible lack of consistency in education based on changes in leadership in the governor’s office.
The second bill, Senate Bill 216, which would affect what qualifications an educator would need to teach outside of their licensing area, is to go to the full Senate on March 21. Upon approval, the bill would go to the House Education Committee.
“We are hopeful the bill will be heard and voted out before summer recess,” said Boeke.
Boeke also said the date for the Strategic Planning meeting is set for April 3, 2018, where their strategic planning board work session will include an overview of the current strategic plan including historic perspective of changes over the past 10 years. The main focus, she said, would be Academics, Relationships, Communication, Facilities and Finance.
Treasurer Laura Klosterman reported that many factors affecting tax collections in March were making it difficult to determine how much the school district will be have in tax collection amount. Examples she gave for the fluctuating amounts included average decreases in farm land value of 14 percent due to recent legislation, as well as a 44 perecent reduction in new residential construction in 2017 (as compared to one year earlier). She did report there was also increases in other areas, such as a 17 percent increase in residential values due to 2017 reappraisals but that outcomes are still unclear.
Klosterman also said the financial audits for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2016, and June 30, 2017, were approved by the Auditor of State and would be available on the Auditor’s website March 22, 2018. Klosterman will also publish a notice in the Community Post when the reports are available in her office.
The treasurer also said that in relation to bonds and the district’s current rating, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board now requires schools report not only the school’s share of State Teachers Retirement pensions obligations but now must include post-employment benefits including health care costs. She said this could change their bond rating, but, since the school system is on a two year audit cycle, it may not affect them for a couple of years.
In personnel matters, the board approved the following recommendations:
• Limited classified one-year contract for Michael Wiss as recreation field manager and a limited (as needed) one-year contract for the 2017-18 school year for Tim Jay as a Melcher Street Park groundskeeper. And a one year contract for Tim Thien as assistant boys track coach. In related action, they rescinded James Sharp’s as position high school assistant boys track coach. Sharp will serve as a volunteer boys track coach. John Huelsman has been recognized as a volunteer girls track coach.
Elementary School principal Leann Keller reported in the area of student achievement, she named the winners of the Eagles, God, Flag and County speech contest. In the age 10 to 11, first place went to Avery Wilges, who also placed second in the district competitions. In the age 12 to 13, first place went to Noah Walter. In the sixth-grade robotics competition at Wright State Lake Campus on March 9, the team of Tyler Stueve and Megan Fortman attained second place.
Junior/Senior High School Principal Dr. Jason Spencer told the board that the band earned a Superior Rating at the Ohio Music Educators Association Large Group Adjudicated event last week. He also congratulated the girls basketball team for winning the state championship.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.