SIDNEY — Hope Abke, of rural Sidney, has been named to the Fairlawn Local Schools Board of Education, filling a vacant seat.
The vote was unanimous to bring Abke, who was a candidate for the same seat in November 2017, onto the board.
The 43-year-old Abke was one of four people seeking voter approval for the three open seats on the board last year. Andrew Brautigam and Rita Gilfillen were re-elected, with Shelly Ginter finishing third in the balloting. Their terms are set to expire in 2022.
Ginter joined the board in January but resigned, July 9, due to her family’s moving from the district. Abke is filling Ginter’s unexpired term, but Ohio law indicates she must seek election for the final two years of the term on the November 2019 ballot, according to treasurer Keith Doseck.
Anyone wishing to serve those final two years has the option to oppose Abke next year.
Hope and Chris Abke reside at 8525 Johnson-Slagle Road with their daughter, Jessie, a high school freshman, and their son, Maddox, a fifth-grader. She is employed as inventory manager by ITW Food Equipment Group in Piqua.
Abke told the Daily News she hopes to do her part to maintain the academic success the district and her children have achieved. She claims to have “no agenda” regarding any issues within the district and plans to listen to educators, students, parents and administrators to “make the best better.”
Also, the board heard an update on the new career center project and details of the Aug. 16 open house.
The board accepted a $10,000 donation from the Sidney-Shelby County Workforce Partnership. The funds will be used to provide new furniture for the new career center, which will double as a library.
Elementary Principal Karen McRill said the Upper Valley Career Center (UVCC) in Piqua had paid for half of the furniture. McRill is heading the Fairlawn contingent to establish the center at the school.
McRill said three courses of studies involving the center will be on careers, financial management and, senior leadership.
The new vocational workshop, named “The Hangar,” is in the school’s renovated media center and will be fully operational for the upcoming school year. The cooperative effort involved the local Workforce Partnership, the Shelby County 4-H Education Extension program and the UVCC.
The Partnership group works to provide training and employment opportunities for high school students to better fit the skills and needs of the local labor force. The nonprofit organization creates working relationships with private and public organizations.
The Fairlawn Hangar will be the third such educational lab created in Shelby County, along with those in the Fort Loramie and Sidney schools.
Open house set for Aug. 16
Middle School/High School Principal John Stekli said the center will be ready for the Fairlawn open house, Aug. 16, from 4 to 7 p.m. The official ribbon-cutting for the center will be at 6:30 p.m.
Stekli also said that during several days prior to the open house, the school will be open for families to pick up class schedules and other essential information for the start of school, Aug. 21. He stated families are urged to use the time during the open house to communicate any changes that are needed.
Superintendent Jeff Hobbs said the open house will be family-friendly, including giveaways and other events. The plan is to give families the opportunity to fully prepare their children for the start of school.
Hobbs and Stekli reported on the school’s being denied a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. The grant had a minimum grant amount of $300,000, according to Hobbs.
According to the Ohio Department of Education, the program is a federal grant that assists with the funding of before- and/or after-school programs. The purpose of the grant is to extend the students’ learning day by providing academic enrichment activities, including tutorial services to help students meet state and local student academic content standards in core subjects, such as reading and math.
Hobbs said the grant writer feels the Fairlawn request was a strong presentation. The plan is to review the projects receiving the grants with the possibility of a re-submission. Stekli said the grant would have provided funds for an afterschool program proven to improve elementary state testing results. Transportation would have been included.
Bob Gold, the board’s Athletic Council liaison, reported the boys varsity soccer program has fewer players than anticipated this upcoming school year. Recently, athletic director Justin Tidwell had to cancel junior varsity games due to the current participation numbers.
In other business, the board:
• Employed Jamie Allen, of Sidney, as a classroom aide during the 2018-19 school year at $12 per hour.
• Accepted the resignation of Gary Clark as a classroom aide.
• Awarded a one-year limited service contract to Danielle Poeppelman as yearbook adviser. Her annual rate of pay will be $3,490.67.
• Approved a bus purchase to be conducted through the Southwestern Ohio Education Purchasing Council.
The next board meeting will be Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in Room 122.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.