Big Walnut Local School District treasurer Felicia Drummey was unable to attend last Thursday (May 8) evening’s Board of Education meeting. District Superintendent Steve Mazzi presented Drummey’s monthly report to the board, and used the occasion to remind Board members that the time to renew the School District’s emergency operating levy is rapidly approaching.
District voters approved the current five-year, 7.5 mil, $4.9 million levy in 2010 with an understanding that the School District’s administration would not return to voters for additional dollars for the life of the levy.
“It’s time now to begin thinking about the levy,” Mazzi said. “We promised the community we would not come back to them for money for five years, but before you know it that’s going to be here.”
Mazzi said as the District gets closer to the levy’s expiration date, renewal numbers would be easier to calculate.
“We want to be totally transparent, fair and open as we move forward,” Mazzi said. “May 2015 will be a big date for us.”
In the audience was General Rosecrans Elementary School PTO President Liana Lee, who will serve as the levy campaign chairperson. Lee said the former ABC Committee (Actions to Benefit Children) that has spearheaded past levy and bond campaigns, has been renamed Community For Eagle Pride.
“A dedicated group of citizens are starting to organize,” Lee said. “We believe the School District is doing a great job with our money. It’s important for us as a committee to get out and start supporting this now.”
In presenting Drummey’s monthly numbers, Mazzi said there was a $700,000 negative variance between income and expenditures in April because of a timing issue — a late homestead rollback payment.
“Income was up for this April over April of 2013, and all income categories are trending higher,” Mazzi said. “In April the District spent $2,400,000, only $40,000 more than budgeted. Because of cost-saving strategies we’ve used over the past five years and a stronger economy, we’re doing a good job with taxpayer’s dollars.
“The state says they’re funding schools like never before, but our share has gone down $289,000,” Mazzi continued. “Considering our operating budget, that loss is substantial. Overall, the projected budget by the end of the year is positive. Our cash balance is better than budgeted and better than last year, but as always we have to be cautious.”
Mazzi also had to don his apology hat. As part of monitoring the property tax value of homes in the School District it was determined there were some issues with Westport Homes properties, the properties were sold, the original tax burden was passed along to the homeowners, and the county filed against the homeowners for recovery.
“We contacted these folks, it was not our intention for our attorneys to file against them,” Mazzi said. “We apologize, and (Delaware County Auditor) George Kaitsa has received notification from our attorney withdrawing those notifications.”
In other business, Assistant Superintendent Angie Pollock announced a new after-school program the District will pilot at Big Walnut Intermediate School — Eagle Extensions. Pollock said teachers and others would be available one afternoon each week to share their talents with students.
“We have a community known for sharing their gifts with students,” Pollock said. “We’ll send an e-mail out to parents, and launch the pilot in October. We’re working with Felicia (Drummey) on establishing fees. We have to make sure we’re covering instructor costs and materials, but we intend to keep fees as low as possible.”
Harrison Street Elementary School, mothballed in 2010, is being resurrected for the 2014-15 school year. HSE’s newly-appointed Principal Kim Castiglione reported that hiring is almost complete for the pre-K through grade four building.
“The building looking fantastic with new tile, stair treads and carpets,” Castiglione said. “The PTO has met for the second time. Students will be going through the building on May 29 at 1:30 p.m., and from 5 to 7 p.m. on May 29 the building will be open for families.”
Former board member Jim Hildreth, who now represents the School District on the Delaware Area Career Center Board of Education, reported that DACC’s enrollment this year is 1,024 students with 180 students from Big Walnut. Hildreth said numbers are up for the 2014-15 school year when DACC’s enrollment is estimated at 1,469 students with 310 Big Walnut students expected to take advantage of career center options.
Hildreth noted that six candidates applied for the Big Walnut High School Ag Science teaching position that’s funded by DACC.
“We invited four candidates to the first round of interviews,” Hildreth said. “On May 19 the final candidates will meet the community.”
Hildreth also encouraged Board members to set up a DACC tour next school year.
Big Walnut parent Shawna Mosher was at the meeting to concerns about an unresolved issue with a District bus driver. She said there was a change in bus drivers, and then a driver left her two children standing along Ohio 37 intentionally.
* Board members approved a Resolution to Approve Then and Now Certificates in Excess of $3,000 for the Month of April 2014.
* Board members approved a resolution to levy a five-year, 1-mil tax for Community Library. (Community Library falls under the umbrella of the Big Walnut Local School District. The School District must approve a library levy action, but the levy will be on the ballot as a library levy issue.)
* Board members approve the following resolution: Board of Education/Governing Board Resolution Authorizing 2014-15 membership in Ohio High School Athletic Association.
* Board members approved a list of students who qualified for graduation from Big Walnut High School on May 17.
* Board members approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the Big Walnut Professional Support Staff Association and the Big Walnut Board of Education regarding contract extension.
* Board members approved the following stipends for the 2013-14 school year: Mike Wion, Mohican Coordinator, $500; Jason Crawford, Mohican Coordinator, $500; Kriste Martin, Mohican Chaperone, $450; Marianna Hines, Mohican Chaperone, $450; Kelly Robinson, DC Coordinator, $500; Lynn Elder, DC Chaperone, $450; Laura Conley, DC Chaperone, $450.
* Board members approved the following athletic supplementals for the 2014-15 school year: Joe Weaver, Head Football Coach, step 11, group 1; Kevin Lewis, Head Cross Country Coach, step 11, group 3; Tim Poitinger, Head Boys Soccer Coach, step 11, group 2; Drew Pitzer, Head Girls Soccer Coach, step 2, group 2; Chuck Workman, Head Golf Coach, step 11, group 3; Ryan Balaz, Head Girls Tennis Coach, step 5, group 3; Ron Lehman, Head Volleyball Coach, step 11, group 2; Eric Myers, Head Boys Basketball Coach, step 11, group 1; Steve Palmer, Head Girls Basketball Coach, step 11, group 1; Luke Moore, Head Wrestling Coach, step 11, group 2; Misty Lloyd-Matthews, Head Gymnastics Coach, step 11, group 3.
* Board members approved payment to the following Mentors for the 2013-14 school year:
Mentors to Resident Educator Teachers ($1,500 each — one mentee), Christina McDonough, Sarah Wytzka, Mike Ruark, Lisa Shaw; Mentors to Resident Educator Teachers ($2,500 each — multiple mentees), Keri Koutchounian, Mendi Priestas, Rhonda Corven, Shannon Mignogno, Sandy Chiampo Amy Kessler Ginna Crawford; Mentor to Resident Educator Teachers .5 year ($1,250 — multiple mentees), Kim Castiglione; Building Guide Mentors ($250 each) Katie Graven, Carol Burchett, Patricia Thompson; Building Guide Mentors .5 year ($125) Susan Missman.
* Board members approved a one-year contract for the following certified employees, effective the beginning of the 2014-15 school year: Christine White Bryant, Third Grade Teacher, General Rosecrans Elementary School, BA step 4; Elizabeth Heizer, Fourth Grade Teacher, General Rosecrans Elementary School, BA step 5; Stefanie Plowman, Intervention Specialist, Big Walnut Intermediate School, MA+15 step 0; Julie Renner, First Grade Teacher, General Rosecrans Elementary School, MA+15 step 5; Elizabeth Yousey, Second Grade Teacher, Harrison Street Elementary School, BA+15 step 1; Andrea Clark, Teacher on Special Assignment: Instructional Facilitator, Big Walnut Elementary School, MA step 5; Kelsie Zak, Third Grade Teacher, Big Walnut Elementary School, BA step 0; Milea Sarap, Fourth Grade Teacher, Big Walnut Elementary School, MA+15 step 3; Bethany Nussbaum, Intervention Specialist, Hylen Souders Elementary, MA step 2; Kristina Collins, Third Grade Teacher, Hylen Souders Elementary, MA step 5; (Rachel) Shea Driscoll, Intervention Specialist, Big Walnut Elementary School, MA+15; step 5 Karlie Zak, First Grade Teacher, Hylen Souders Elementary School, BA step 0.
* Board members approved Mistie Collier, Special Needs Educational Assistant, to provide extended school year behavior intervention services for the duration of her employment with Big Walnut Local School District at her hourly rate.
* Board members approved the following Administrative Level II contracts, effective July 1, 2014:
Linda Klamfoth, two-year; Cassy Sabatini, two-year; Dave Maxwell, three-year.
* Board members approved the following Administrative Level I contracts, effective August 1, 2014: Penny Sturtevant, two-year; Steve Glesenkamp, three-year; Mark Cooper, three-year; Wayne Thompson, three-year; Megan Forman, three-year.
* Board members approved a one-year contract to the following certified employees: Jenny Ainsworth, Jennilyn Haer, Patricia Cooper, Amy Keep, Lindsey DeLoss, Stephanie Pearlmutter, Joseph Evener, Kelly Pentello, Ric Cavicchia .75, retire/rehire; Stephanie Ruark, Rebecca Sliva, Charles Smith, Jessica Wells, Jennifer Zimmer.
* Board members approved a two-year contract to the following certified employees: Jessica Amodio, Katie Keller, Colleen Hoffman (Genoa Christian), Dorothy Branham, Steven Kreiner, Ginna Crawford, Margaret Pharazyn, Kaitlin Frey, Brenda Schroeder.
* Board members approved a three-year contract to the following certified employees: Joseph Backs, Lesley Cannell, Tonia Carter, Katie Cochran, Mike Denton, Erin Erjavec, Justin Heck, Scottie Hefner, Mickey Horn, Sarah Kuhn, Ryan Mocarski, Susan Monfort, Luke Moore, Stacey O’Reilly, Joshua Patterson, Dora Riggs, Lisa Shaw, Karen Snyder, Maria Tarney, Joseph Weaver.
* Board members approved a continuing contract to the following certified employees: Rhonda Corven, Shelly Olson, Christine Epstein, Susan Stein, Roberta DiVito.
* Board members accepted the following resignations: Brad Felkey, due to retirement, Assistant Principal, Big Walnut High School, effective June 12, 2014; Gorman “Mickey” Horn, due to retirement, Social Studies Teacher, Big Walnut Middle School, effective at the end of the 2013-2014 school year with the addition of 21 days to be worked between August 1 – October 24, 2014; Lindsey Simmons, First Grade Teacher, Hylen Souders Elementary School, effective at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.
* Board members approved a three-year 225-day Administrative Level I contract for Brian Shelton, Big Walnut High School Assistant Principal, $75,000.00 annual salary, effective August 1, 2014.
* Board members accepted the resignation of Dale Wolfe, Mail Carrier, effective April 7, 2014.
* Board members approved a 90-day contract to the following classified staff: Linde Borchers, 2 hours per day/260 days, Mail Carrier, custodian salary scale, step 0, effective May 1, 2014; Stephanie Kreager, .5/190 days, Office Assistant, Harrison Street Elementary School, step 2, effective August 12, 2014; Steve Palmer, 190 days, Teaching Assistant, Big Walnut High School, step 3, effective August 12, 2014; Michelle McDermott, 190 days, Special Education Assistant, General Rosecrans Elementary, step 0, effective August 12, 2014.
* Board members approved a one-year contract for the following certified employees, effective the beginning of the 2014-15 school year: Lauren Marter (current ESC employee at Big Walnut Local Schools), Preschool Teacher, General Rosecrans Elementary School, BA step 6; Awny Hemingway, .5 Preschool Intervention Specialist/.5 Kindergarten Teacher, Hylen Souders Elementary School, BA+30 step 2; Sarah Nealon, Preschool Intervention Specialist, Harrison Street Elementary, BA step 0.
* Board members approved a 90-day classified 190-day contract for Tina Shumaker (current ESC employee at Big Walnut Local Schools), Preschool Education Assistant, General Rosecrans Elementary, step 5, effective August 12, 2014.
* Board members approved 3.5 hours at a tutor rate of pay for Christine Epstein, for Art Day at Hylen Souders Elementary School.
* Board members approved the following extended field trips: Big Walnut Varsity Football, Ashland University Football Camp, June 23-24, 2014; Big Walnut Varsity Volleyball, Camp Nuhop in Perrysville, Ohio, August 9-10, 2014; Big Walnut Boys Basketball, Wooster College Basketball Camp, June 20-21, 2014.
* Board members approved the following donations: Kimball upright piano donated to Harrison Street Elementary School, donated by Felicia Drummey; $2,500 donated to Big Walnut High School Athletics, donated by VFW Post 8736; $75 donated to Hylen Souders Elementary School, donated by Morgan Stanley c/o Cybergrants, Inc.; $200 donated to Big Walnut High School, donated by anonymous.
The next regularly scheduled Big walnut Local School District Board of Education meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, June 12, in the Big Walnut High School Media Center.
Members of the board will hold a work session at 6:30 p.m., Monday, June 23, in the Big Walnut Intermediate School, Central Office Conference Room.