NEW BREMEN – The New Bremen Board of Education (BOE) approved the next phase of the K-8 school construction and listened to a presentation about auctioning unneeded school property at Wednesday night’s meeting. They also heard from a concerned neighbor about plans for vacating Cardinal St. and congratulated the New Bremen girls’ volleyball team.
The meeting was begun with the board congratulating their girls Volleyball team for winning state runner-up honors in Division IV competition last weekend.
The board approved the design stage of the new $20 million K-8 building which is considered the 2nd stage of the process. The school district is working with the architectural firm Garmann-Miller and Associates and construction management company Gilbane Building Company. This approval allows these companies to begin creating the documents which would be sent to construction companies interested in bidding on the project. It is anticipated that the contract will go up for bids in early February. The new K-8 building is to be built adjacent to the current high school. The state will cover 28 percent of the project cost, approximately $5.6 million, with the balance of $14.4 million funded locally. Completion is expected by December 2020.
In regards to disposing of unneeded school equipment at the old elementary, Tim Eiting of Eiting Real Estate and Justin Vondenhuevel of Vondenhuevel Auctioneers talked to the Board about a possible auction to sell those items as profitably has possible. Both men described how using the internet as part of the auctioneering process would expand the pool of hundreds of potential customers from hundreds of miles around. Eiting said that their firms would deal with all the preparation work, such as cataloging salable items, promoting the sale and arranging for pickup or shipping buyers if needed. Vonderhuevel said his company has done similar auctions for a couple dozen schools already, including Botkins and Jackson Center.
Superintendent Jason Schrader said he planned a meeting on Thursday to inventory equipment that could be sold, since they are anticipating an earlier than expected demolition of the old elementary. The sale of surplus items would bring in additional revenue.
In other news, Cardinal Street resident Steve Vonderhaar expressed his concerns about changes in traffic patterns on that street. The board has requested the village of New Bremen vacate a section Cardinal from state Route 66 to Burke Road, with one stop sign at the intersection. Vonderhaar said he and a number of concerned Cardinal Street neighbors instead favor the remaining public section of Cardinal to be ended in a cul-de-sac. He felt public safety would be a concern if traffic could pass through there. He said nine houses along Cardinal hold a total of 20 to 25 children who would be walking to the school once it was completed.
“I know a cul-de-sac does not guarantee safety,” he said, “but I don’t feel they need a fourth way in (to the school grounds).”
Also in preparation for building the new K-8 elementary building, Schrader said there would be a public hearing in December at the Board meeting to discuss school calendar options. He said the 2019-10 school year classes would begin on Aug. 14 2019, with teachers returning Aug. 8. The first semester would end before a two-week Christmas vacation and graduation would be May 10. Schrader said that they wanted allow time for construction of the new connector between the old and new buildings and kitchen construction.
One new hire was approved that night. Polly Rodgers was hired as a mentor teacher on a one-year contract.
Some discussion was spent on whether to have a speaker for the 2019 graduation. It was agreed to consider different people. Also discussed was whether to have bowling be accepted as a varsity sport which could earn phys ed credits. New Bremen currently has bowling classified as a club. Schrader said the matter had been considered in the past, but once the MAC turned it down as a team sport, the matter was dropped. It was agreed to look at the costs associated with making bowling a class activity.
There were several items discussed in the informational portion of the meeting. One report said the Mercer/Auglaize Benefit Trust reporting an increase in employee premium costs for the 2019 plan year ranging from 8 percent increase for an Alt PPO Plan, 6 percent increase for the HSA plan, and 1 percent increase for the Dental plan. Another report showed that the number of students on the Free or the Reduced Lunch Program had declined from a high of 122 in 2010-11 school year to 38 for 2018-19.
Grade 7 to 12 Principal Marcus Overman said grades on the first quarter report cards were largely favorable, with 29 high school students earning a 4.0 GPA, 91 earning a 3.5 to 3.9 GPA, and 65 students earning a 3.0 to 3.49 GPA. He said middle school scores were also good, with 5 students getting a 4.0, 48 students scoring a 3.5 to 3.99, and 35 students earning a 3.0 to 3.49 gpa.
He also said 105 high school students had perfect attendance and 70 middle school students did not miss a class day in the first quarter.
Middle school students Katie Mertz, Mara Lozier, Megan Reinhart, McKenzie Waterman, Miam Schmitmeyer, Allison Hays and Keaton Puttholf were selected as the first quarter Character Award winners he said.
K-6 Principal Diane Kramer reported that the third-grade Ohio Reading Achievement Assessment was administered online to all third-grade students Oct. 23-24, with results available in mid-December. Also grades two and four took the Terra Nova Achievement Test and In View Cognitive tests Oct. 16 and 22, which identified both for gifted students as well as determining student interventions. Results are expected in a couple of weeks.
Kramer also congratulated their Lego League teams which placed first and eighth at last Saturday’s competition. Both teams will compete at the regional level at Bowling Green Jan. 12.
The board also approved the treasurer’s recommendations to approve the general fund paid bills of $95,066.50, the lunchroom fund paid bills of $10,907.08, and to increase anticipated revenues and appropriations for Title One by $231.05 for a total of $58,154. They also approved establishing a fund for the Komminsk Center for Innovative Thinking donation, and increased appropriations to the General Fund by $13,411. It was also agreed to sell an old field sprayer through the Public Surplus Auction website.
There will be a Dec. 12 BOE meeting at 6 p.m. to hear the next five-year forecast.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.