SIDNEY – Administrators and the board of education at Fairlawn Local Schools reviewed their district’s state report card during their regular meeting Monday night. It was clear no one intends to sit still in accepting their overall C grade rating.
The board also approved a five-year financial plan and accepted the resignation of their athletic director and school resource officer, who will continue as boys’ varsity basketball coach.
“Our district received a C grade. Fairlawn is not an average school district. We are better than that. In a lot of the ratings, we were close to a B (grade). We just need to do a better job,” said Superintendent Jeff Hobbs.
Middle/High School Principal John Stekli and Elementary School Principal Karen McRill joined Hobbs in reviewing their respective classes.
Stekli said several students in grades 7-10 are currently participating in the Ohio Writing Project. He noted that proven teaching methods are also being incorporated into other grade levels.
He noted teachers are being requested to complete 15 hours of training to lead gifted classes. Hobbs recommended the board approve a $100 bonus for those completing the training.
McRill expressed concern that the current four-person team of teachers for all the elementary school students was not working as reflected in the district low grade for achievement. She strongly proposed two people per grade teams should be established.
She also noted it would require an additional staff hire. She recommended Kim Swartz, who is retiring as librarian/media specialist at the end of the school year.
McRill said she will continue to network with other school districts seeking ways to enhance the Fairlawn programs. She plans to share these ideas to the Fairlawn staff during a professional development day on Oct. 19.
Hobbs told the board he plans to include educators to continue professional development strategies for math and English Language Arts provided by the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center.
He also plans to improve At Risk K-3 readers with Reading Improvement Plan for all “struggling readers to insure a safety net if they were to fail the state assessments”.
Hobbs also plans to continue gap closing by continuing to work with other districts, as noted by McRill.
5-year financial forecast
No immediate concerns were noted in the state-mandated five-year financial forecast presented to the board by treasurer Keith Doseck.
For Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 (current school year), the estimated income totals $6,399,300. This includes an anticipated $2,585,632 from the State Foundation Revenue Unrestricted Fund; another $1.415 million for open enrollment reimbursement; $1.350 real property tax and utility income; and, $380,745 from income taxes.
Estimated expenditures for FY2019 total $6,532,152. They include $3.4 million in Personal Services (salaries); another $1.060 million for purchased services; $810,000 in employee fringe benefits; $575,000 for retirement fund payments; $263,000 for equipment and building repairs; and, $250,000 for supplies.
Doseck noted a deficit of $132,852 and indicated cash reserves would surpass the amount needed.
For FY 2020, the revenue is estimated at $6,447,240 with anticipated expenditures totaling $6,690,142. The deficit is expected to be $242,902. Again, cash reserves should easily keep the district in the black, according to the treasurer.
Doseck reminded the board the figures are estimates. He noted that looking forward five years was just a state-mandated exercise. He said the constant changes in state education funding guidelines and local tax factors make it hard to provide precise estimates.
Tidwell resigns, remains as basketball coach
The board accepted the resignation of Justin Tidwell as the district’s athletic director and school resource officer effective Oct. 19. He will remain as the boys’ varsity basketball coach.
Hobbs reported Tidwell will be joining the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office as a prisoner transport driver.
During his report, Hobbs told the board the district was being honored with the Regional Ohio School Board Outstanding Volunteer Program award for their Adopt-a-Family campaign. The program raises funds to assist students and families in need during the school year. At Christmas, they also help families provide for their children during the holidays.
He also reported the students and staff raised $5,500 for the Shelby County United Way. Of that, $1,500 was raised by students. He also noted four students recently participated in an honors choir program at Kent State University.
In other board notes:
• Heard an update from school counselor Tonya Slonaker, who was accompanied by the district’s therapy dog, Stanley. She spoke of students reacting positively to Stanley that prompted verbal and physical interaction not previously achieved.
• Accepted the resignation of Amy Berger as junior varsity cheerleading adviser. Hired Rycki Schmiesing for the position at an annual rate of $1,047.21.
• Accepted the resignation of Shirley Wright as assistant cook and hired Lorraine Rose for the position at $10.61 per hour.
• Accepted the resignation of Sarah Braun as an aide and hired Catessa Cathcart for the position at $10.61 per hour.
• Agreed to pay $100 per day to substitute teachers John Carman, Allyson Grilliot, and, Hope Ruhenkamp.
• Approved an overnight trip for the FFA chapter to travel to Indianapolis Oct. 24-25.
• Accepted resignations from Todd Toner as night custodian effective Oct. 5.
• Adopted a proposal for a Wellness Policy to promote healthier food choices.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.