The Defiance City Board of Education handled a busy agenda Monday during its regular meeting in the community room of the Defiance City Building.
Chris Korhn, president of the Defiance City Schools Foundation (DSCF), and Chris Yoder, executive director of the Defiance Area Foundation (DAF), were in attendance to share the foundation’s annual review with the board.
“The Defiance City School Foundation was established in 1989 to support educational opportunities for our students in the Defiance City School District,” said Korhn. “The primary goal of the foundation is to improve the quality of education, leadership and scholastic programs of the school district, which in turn, benefits our entire community.”
The foundation provides a vehicle for which individuals, businesses and other organizations can make private gifts to benefit the students, staff and programs of the school district in the form of equipment, technology, academic programs, teaching materials and curriculum projects.
The DSCF has partnered with the DAF, which manages the investments of the funds. Yoder noted that the general fund totaled $814,347 as of Aug. 31, with six scholarship funds totaling $346,797. Year-to-date returns have ranged from 9.39% to 14.56% from three management wealth advisors.
Mini grants awarded in 2019 totaled $17,599.39, while scholarships awarded totaled $13,642 this year. It was noted that Tom and Jean Hubbard will be the chairmen for the upcoming fundraising campaign.
Deputy Dana Phipps, DARE officer with the Defiance County Sheriff’s Office, gave an update on what has been taking place with students in the district.
“I’m currently in the fifth-grade classrooms, where we’re about halfway through a 13-week curriculum,” said Phipps. “The students have been receptive to what we’ve been teaching about, which includes alcohol and drugs, vaping, which is new this year, communication styles, bullying, non-verbal communication, and it’s been nice to see the kids reach out to me or other adults when they’ve had issues or troubles.
“Next semester, I will be in the second-grade classrooms for a four-week curriculum,” added Phipps. “We will talk about being a good student, bullying, and we’ll also talk about prescription and over-the-counter medications ... the positives, the negatives and about letting adults get those for them.”
CFO/treasurer Cheryl Swisher presented a fiscal year 2020 analysis of September, showing the district’s cash balance at the end of the fiscal year was $12,030,503. In addition, revenue cash flow is trending favorable for fiscal year 2020, with expenditures also trending favorable.
“The Defiance Board of Education has been entrusted to provide our students with the best education possible within the resources available to us. The primary consideration in the development of this plan, therefore, has to be to minimize the possibility of any and all things that impact the budget,” said Swisher. “You achieve what you measure, and so the goal is to achieve and maintain 120 to 150 true days cash.”
Prior to giving her monthly fiscal report, she reminded the board that next month’s meeting scheduled for Nov. 25 has been moved to Nov. 18 at Defiance High School. During that meeting, she will give the board the five-year fiscal forecast.
Swisher then discussed a financial settlement agreement between the district and Twin Rivers Care and Rehabilitation Center, in which $63,191 has been paid to the school district by Twin Rivers. The settlement stems from a valuation complaint by the district with the Defiance County Board of Revision in 2017. Following a re-evaluation of the Twin Rivers property, the two parties have agreed to the settlement amount.
In his report, superintendent Bob Morton gave a Defiance Community Auditorium update in which he shared that he and director of operations John Mayes have met with some contractors and vendors in looking at painting and window coverings, with more coming in to give bids.
“Once we have those (bids) nailed down, we’ll meet with the community arts people to come up with a game plan and tell you what we’re looking at doing,” said Morton. “These things need to be done in the right order, and after we have what we need, we’ll bring in color schemes for you to look over. The curtains haven’t been replaced since the 1970s, and the entire auditorium hasn’t been painted since 1984.”
Substitute pay rates for teachers, paraprofessionals and others was also a topic of discussion by Morton, where he explained that Defiance is currently not paying subs as much as other school districts. He explained he will be collecting more data on what other districts in the area are paying, and that he will bring a recommendation to the board in the future about the possibility of raising those rates.
Technology coordinator Andrew Eckhart gave an update on the 1,250 new Chromebooks that are being replaced by DELL due to problems with the machines failing. The district has asked that 200 be shipped at a time to keep the work manageable, and that the first 200 have been distributed to the third grade ahead of testing. The next shipment is due to arrive next week.
In other business, the board:
• approved Jake Sierra to cover a maternity leave for a science teacher from approximately Oct. 16-Dec. 17; Grace Mitchell as a substitute teacher for 2019-20; and to increase the hours of Audrey Eis, Title I teacher at St. John Lutheran School from three hours a day, three days a week, to five hours a day, three days a week as long as grant funds are available, effective Oct. 28.
• okayed Shannon Alvarado as a K-2 aide, effective Oct. 15; Bonnie Downey for DES dishroom at three hours a day, effective Oct. 15; Rachelle Rowlison as an aide/cafeteria substitute, as needed, for 2019-20; and Brenna Slattman as a cafeteria substitute, as needed for 2019-20.
• accepted the resignation of Tiffany Zipfel from Volunteens.
• voted for the following supplemental contracts: Austin Carr, junior varsity assistant baseball; Brock Bergman, summer baseball coach; Jaaci Carr, freshman assistant boys basketball; Kirk Lehman, elementary boys basketball; Hans Zipfel, middle school girls basketball; Nick Rath, assistant swimming; and Ashley Peters, Volunteens.
• approved FMLA leave for Erin Killion from approximately Jan. 18, 2020-April 3, 2020.
• okayed a memo of understanding with Defiance College for hosting teacher education candidates from July 1, 2019-June 20, 2020.
• accepted the following donations: coffee and cups for the concession stand and hospitality rooms for the WBL cross country championships from Cabin Fever with a total value of $100; decorations and craft supplies from JoAnn Fabrics with a total value of $1,198.15; five Just Be Original gift certificates to Defiance Elementary with a total value of $25; $1,000 from the United Way of Defiance County, to the DES Watch D.O.G.S. program; and five Putt-Putt game certificates from Putt-Putt Fun Center to Defiance Elementary.