Report card improvement, bus safety issues heard by Fairlawn school board

By Jim Painter - For the Sidney Daily News

SIDNEY – Fairlawn Local School District administrators updated members of the board of education on steps taken to improve their state report card results in the elementary. Extensive data regarding testing were distributed during the board’s regular meeting Monday night.

Also, the board heard of discussion regarding school bus safety issues and approved employment contracts for a principal, the treasurer, and other certified staff.

In September, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) issued an overall “C” grade for the 2017-18 schoolyear. At that time, the board expressed concern for low grades, specifically in the elementary school.

Elementary Principal Karen McRill told the board then that plans were being developed and introduced Michelle Vandemark of Lima, who serves as a consultant with the ODE’s State Support Team 6 of Wapakoneta regarding the Ohio Improvement Process.

Vandemark works with teachers and administrators on academic plans, developing teacher-based teams, and professional development, approximately three days per week. She was assigned to work with Fairlawn officials due to the elementary being considered a priority school based on the state grade card.

She returned to address the board on Monday. With McRill, they outlined student testing and recordkeeping options.

They spoke of pretesting students in some curriculum areas followed by a posttest to clearly chart the improvements. The women said administrators and teachers can develop formative assessments and definitive programs.

Vandemark said charting the results is usually more than usual, but helps provide a clear look at areas of need. Superintendent Jeff Hobbs agreed saying the chart can show the successes and weak spots that may need immediate attention.

First-grade teacher Karen Ike, who was attending the meeting with her daughter on another matter, said the educator meetings are helpful. By the sharing of ideas, Ike said, it allows all to see how teachers are monitoring and educating students. Better ideas have resulted, she added.

School bus safety became a discussion topic when board president Bob Gold updated the members on pending law changes in the Ohio Statehouse.

Gold said legislators are considering higher penalties for passing a bus stopping for student embarking; and another bill that would allow onboard bus cameras to be used to identify vehicles passing illegally.

Bus safety, staff hires

Hobbs informed the board of a professional day spent with bus drivers. Safety issues topped the discussion, he said.

The superintendent said the school’s resource officer Mark Henman has been riding buses to learn the routes and to be visible to students. He spoke of adding cameras to the stop arms that are used when students are exiting the bus. This will give a clearer identification of those passing a bus illegally.

The board unanimously approved, with one abstention, renewal contracts for several certified staff members for the 2019-20 school year. All contracts become effective Aug. 1.

The exact base salary figures cannot be determined until an agreement is reached with the school’s teacher’s union, according to Hobbs. Current salary figures are included below.

In administrative renewals, Karen McRill was awarded a three-year extension through July 31, 2022, as elementary school principal, $76,160; Keith Doseck was given a five-year extension as treasurer through July 31, 2005, $102,823; and Technical Director Aaron Cox was renewed for five years on a limited administrator’s contract through July 31, 2024, $73,688. Board member Rita Gilfillen abstained from voting due to being related to Cox.

A three-year contract was extended to Johanna Peters as Elementary Title 1 instructor through July 31, 2022, $45,763. Two-year contracts were extended to two educators through July 31, 2021. They include Jacquelyn Jenkinson as band/music director, $42,866; and, Jason Hemmelgarn, high school mathematics, $40,561.

In other board business:

• Heard that student Mark Maloney had advanced to the state competition in the Geography Bee.

• Approved a $325 donation from the Fairlawn Education Boosters and a $200 donation from an anonymous donor to the Model U.N. group currently competing in a statewide program.

• Listen to an appeal from Senior Class President Allison Roush to excuse seniors from attending school May 20-21. High School Principal John Stekli explained these days were after graduation and senior students will have fulfilled state requirements for graduation. The board unanimously approved the off days.

• Accepted a $1,000 donation from Minster State Bank for the Minster Bank Scholarship; and, $800 from Shelby County Trustees and Fiscal Officers to the Seth Rogers Memorial Scholarship Fund.

• Employed Emily Kasper, Brigitte Moneymaker and Ashley Wilt as substitute teachers at a rate of $100 per day.

• Accepted the resignation of Stephanie Everett as Washington, D.C., tour director effective immediately.

• Awarded a two-year limited contract to Meghan Petty as night custodian effective July 1, $17.37 per hour; and, a one-year limited contract to Lorraine Rose as assistant cook effective Aug. 1, $10.61 per hour.

• Set the next meeting for Wednesday, April 17, at 5 p.m. in The Hangar due to scheduling issues.

By Jim Painter

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.