Buckeye Valley agrees to pay settlement


By D. Anthony Botkin - abotkin@aimmediamidwest.com



The Buckeye Valley Local Schools Board of Education went into a closed-door executive session Wednesday evening (Feb. 20) to consider a resolution authorizing a settlement in the appropriation of property to complete the construction of a new elementary building.

The school district filed an action with the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas General Division in January 2017 to appropriate the property next to Buckeye Valley East Elementary, 530 E. High St. in Ashley.

The property was owned by Brent and Angela Stooksbury, who owned and operated The Haunted Hoorah on the property.

When negotiations for the property stalled, the matter went to a jury trial to decide the fair market value and compensation for the property. The jury rendered a verdict, ordering the school district to pay the Stooksburys $229,000 for the property on March 28, 2018.

According to the resolution approved by the board of education, there were continued disputes over “alleged business relocation expenses, loss of goodwill, and economic losses” pending.

“In the interest of avoiding further litigation and other costs, and as a compromise of these various disputed claims pending in the appropriation action, the board has reached a settlement with the former owners,” the board’s resolution states.

The board approved a settlement payment of $52,400 for the remaining claims.

“Rather than going to court about the remaining issues, we settled for an amount,” said Superintendent Andrew Miller.

“We’re done with it all now,” said BOE member Amy Dutt.

During the board meeting, Miller announced that students would start classes in the new building at Buckeye Valley East on Thursday, Feb. 21, and that there was an open house scheduled for the building at 6:30 p.m. on March 6.

Kelly Ziegler, treasurer, said the amount owed on the bond for the two new elementary buildings is decreasing every month.

“That means we’re almost done paying it,” she said.

Construction of the new buildings, Buckeye Valley East in Ashley and Buckeye Valley West in Bellepoint, was made possible by the passage of a $31.25 million bond issue in November 2015.

Looking at projects that may have taken a backseat to the construction, Miller said he was getting the facilities advisory team together to look at some of the campus needs of the high school.

“Some discussion on potential future plans in that area,” he said.

Hoping to be more competitive with other school districts in Delaware County, Miller made a recommendation to the board to increase the pay rate for substitute teachers, which was approved.

“This will make us consistent in terms with what we pay our substitutes to Delaware city, Olentangy and the career center,” he said. “It makes us a little more competitive.”

Miller said the pay rate for substitute teachers will increase from $95 per day to $100. He said in order to give some of the retired Buckeye Valley teachers incentive to substitute, they will be paid $115 per day.

In order to compete with fast-food restaurants, Miller also recommended paying summer help anywhere from $10-$13 per hour depending on the position. He also recommended a pay rate of $15 per hour for working in the bus garage. The board signed off on both requests.

The board was informed by Ziegler that the district received about $12,332 in the form of a safety grant from the State of Ohio Attorney General’s Office. She said once the funds are processed and approved by the board, it will go to the district’s resource officers, who have been talking and making plans for the money.

Also during the meeting, the board heard a presentation on Syntero Services from Erica Wood, a school-based coordinator.

Woods said that Syntero Services is a mental health agency that has been providing services for over 40 years and is providing school-based service to all four of the Buckeye Valley schools, all seven Delaware city schools, 18 of the Olentangy schools, two of the Big Walnut schools, and the Delaware County Juvenile Court. She said Syntero is funded by the Delaware-Morrow Mental Health Service and Recovery Board to provide prevention services in Delaware County.

“We help build skills to keep a mental health condition from developing or worsening,” she said. “All the services take place at the school.”

Wendy Manning, a Buckeye Valley parent, asked the board to use the school’s name to form a clay target shooting team.

“It is a coed club held exclusively at Black Wing Shooting Center,” she told the board. “It goes under the Ohio State Target Shooting Association, which provides insurance for the coaches and students.”

Manning said there would be no fee to the school district.

The board gave her permission to register the team with the “intent of participating,” but members added they wanted to check with legal and others before fully giving permission to participate under the district’s name.

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By D. Anthony Botkin

abotkin@aimmediamidwest.com

Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.

Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.