By Susan Hartley
December 20, 2013
For the Daily Call
PIQUA — A bevy of topics and events wrapped up the year for the Piqua Board of Education’s last meeting of the year, from celebrating the holiday season, to accepting resignations, to discussions on the progress of the schools under construction, to planning for their future transitional period.
Thursday evening’s meeting began with a “bittersweet” appreciation of board member Mimi Crawford, as she was presented with a plaque of gratitude for her service since she is leaving the boar after serving two terms, which is a total of eight years. During Crawford’s tenure, she served in many positions, including president for two years. She is leaving to pursue personal endeavors.
Afterward, a bit of Christmas spirit was ushered in by choir leader Beth Fair from the Junior High School, as the seventh-grade choir sang several Christmas carols before the board during the celebration period of the meeting.
Then board report updates were given for the Piqua schools and the Upper Valley Career Center.
Treasure Jeremie Hittle’s reports included an explanation of ways to make the dollar go further, including credit card rebates, and motor tax refund, which the state of Ohio puts on diesel fuel. Hittle explained that the 2015 tax budget and audit are near complete. Plans for the next year will be discussed at the next meeting.
The treasure’s agenda explained that revenue has been a little bit ahead than this time last year; however, taxes were up a little, but that they are only halfway through the fiscal year.
The superintendent’s report included Collaborative Leadership about the building goals (for the schools under construction) and information on the nine meetings with all nine teams. Also there was discussion on OTA (Ohio Teacher Association) and the new statewide evaluation on the reports that come in from the state on the districts, and how to focus a strategic plan to improve student achievement and growth.
The Ohio Facility Commission gave an update on building projects of all schools. Currently, all is on schedule and on budget. They informed the board that they are now utilizing cold weather procedures to heat materials like mortar and sand and to enclose some areas in order to keep the materials from freezing. Nicklin Medical Center is completely gone now.
The administrator discussed “K-6 meetings” of how to pull off midyear reorganization, and so for the 2014-15 school year, Nicklin will remain a learning center for the entire year. Favorite Hill will remain intact the entire school year. The current Springcreek School will move into the new Springcreek building. The current High Street school will go to the new Washington School once the new Washington building is complete. For these schools, they figured out how to keep the students in the same classrooms with the same instructors.
Race to the Top explained the staff alignment for the next school year and the 2015-16 school year for being able to inform staff where they will be located during those time periods.
Other topics discussed included much conversation on the third-grade reading review and the plan for helping those students to achieve necessary fundamental reading skills to move on to the fourth grade. Afterschool program was discussed for students identified as needing additional help.
The in-school program, Rachel’s Challenge, was introduced, which is provided by UVMC for a full year. This program is intended to motivate and challenge thinking students about one another with compassion and to be aware of the effects of bullying.
Superintendent’s agenda part three included a recommendation and approval of the resolution to acquire the real estate by donation; for the disposal and removal from inventory records of the PCS district, of scoliosis screenings at Piqua Junior High School; the appointment of Dwayne A. Thompson to the Piqua Public Library Board of Trustees beginning January 1, 2014 for a seven-year-term. Also, approval of the following grants for the Piqua Community Foundation for cameras for the PHS newspaper for $1,300, leveled novels for PHS for $705 and Project purple for $1,000. An acceptance for the donation from MainSource Bank to Favorite Hill Primary for $1,250, to Bennett Intermediate for $1,250, for the shoot-a-thon to PHS for $4,093, and the Dance Marathon to PHS for $952.
See Monday’s Daily Call for an additional report from Thursday’s Piqua Board of Education meeting.