Administrators from Defiance City Schools gave an update on the start of the 2019-20 school year to the Defiance City Board of Education during its regular meeting Monday evening in the community room of the Defiance City Building. Several personnel matters also were handled by the board.
In her report, assistant superintendent Sheri Steyer shared that she and superintendent Bob Morton received very positive feedback from the staff after hearing keynote speaker Diana Patton speak on the first work day for staff on Aug. 19. Said Steyer: “We received messages such as, ‘She was awesome!’ and ‘Best one in 30 years.’”
Steyer then introduced Trish Speiser, president of AuGlaize Village, who shared that she came across a 25-year-old workbook at the village that she said: “Was the best compilation of local history, from the beginning of Defiance.” It was put together by Sandra Bok (a former Defiance teacher). With permission from her husband, and with funds provided by the city of Defiance through the hotel/motel tax, she had the workbook reprinted.
“We want to give it to all fourth-graders (who learn Ohio history in that grade), and to coordinate it with all sixth-graders at Defiance who go to all the Defiance schools at the end of the year,” said Speiser. “Our thought for Defiance is fourth and sixth this year and next year, and if we keep the funding, the Defiance County Historical Society would like to provide it for fourth-graders as long as they keep the Ohio history curriculum.”
The principals from each building (Deanne Held, K-2; Jane Myers, 3-5; Matt Carr, 6-8; and Jay Jerger, 9-12) shared about a good start to the school year, and how they enjoyed seeing the band and cheerleaders welcome students to start the year. Carr shared that new this year at the middle school was a transition day for sixth-graders the first day of school, to help those students get used to being in middle school.
Todd Fruth, director of student services, and Andrew Eckhart, technology coordinator, also gave the board an update on the start of the year.
In her report, CFO/treasurer Cheryl Swisher confirmed that Boarddocs training for board members will take place Sept. 23 at 5 p.m. The board meeting originally scheduled for 7 p.m. that evening at the community room of the Defiance City Building, will now be held in the conference room at Defiance High School at 7 p.m. following the Boarddocs training.
Morton gave an update on strategic planning that has been taking place in the district the past three or four years, and on work to the humidity control system in the middle school and high school.
“On administrative council day on Sept. 6, we will review our strategic plan, where we are and what needs to change, since we have new administrators in the district,” said Morton. “We may assign new administrators to the committee, we may leave it alone, but we do plan to report back to you (the board) at the Sept. 23 meeting. That will include what has been accomplished and what we need to stay focused on, etc ...
“We have a commissioning agent that works on behalf of the district for our 6-12 building called Four Seasons Environmental,” continued Morton. “This is our second season of air conditioning, and our agent doesn’t like the humidity levels in that building, so he challenged our engineers and architects to come up with a plan. We had a representative from Climate Master tweak some of the heat pumps, and once they’re dialed in, all of them will be reprogrammed.”
Morton explained that the OFCC project can’t be closed out until the humidity control systems are running properly. In addition, he shared that enrollment for the district is 2,425 students, which counts just students in seats at the two buildings in Defiance. That is 40 less than at the end of 2018-19.
Following the regular session, the board met in executive session to consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, or compensation of public employees; and to investigation charges or complaints against a public employee, official, licensee or regulated individual.
Following executive session, the board voted for the following administrative raises: a 2% raise for Tami Elmwood, support specialist in the student services office; and a 5% raise for Lori Schultz, district accompanist.
In other business, the board:
• approved the amended certificate of estimated resources and permanent appropriations for fiscal year 2020.
• okayed a then and now purchase order for summer school curriculum in the amount of $5,685.
• approved Martha Mallott as a substitute teacher; April Fruit as a bus driver for 4.5 hours per day, effective Aug. 21; Christy Harsha as an ESL aide for eight hours per day; Aerica Fackler as a substitute aide, as needed; and Linda Booher, Judy Corbitt, Jovita Fernandez, Caesar Gonzales and Heather Rodriguez as substitute cafeteria workers, as needed.
• accepted the resignation of Kristen Alvarez as a bus driver, 5.75 hours per day, effective Aug. 7.
• approved Jessica Keiber as a volunteer band assistant/auxiliary unit; and Harlee Phillips as a middle school assistant football volunteer.
• okayed an unpaid medical leave of absence for LeAnn Carnahan from approximately Feb. 21-May 29, 2020.
• voted for the following donations: a Dell computer, monitor, keyboard and wireless mouse from Steyer & Co. with an approximate value of $50; and craft supplies and decorations from JoAnn Fabrics, with an approximate value of $1,800.