The Defiance City Schools Board of Education discussed its recent full-scale safety drill, heard an update on air conditioning for the Defiance Community Auditorium and approved a district support organization during its regular meeting Wednesday evening at Defiance High School.

Superintendent Bob Morton gave the board a review of the full-scale safety drill that took place on Sept. 5, and included all three school campuses. Morton went over the details that were outlined in an article in The Crescent-News on Sept. 6, and information regarding a meeting that was held following the drill.

“When you do something like that, especially evacuating a bunch of people, it’s difficult to do it quickly,” said Morton. “We also found that communication was extremely difficult in a crazy situation like that, and that everyone has two-way radios except the central office. We are getting some for the central office.”

Board vice president Cathy Davis was appreciative of everyone that took part in the drill.

“I want to thank everyone that was involved, from the coverage we got from The Crescent(-News), to the superintendent who was getting the word out, to the parents who shared the information, to the staff and the first responders,” said Davis. “What this showed me is that we’re working hard to be a well-oiled machine when it comes to the safety of our kids. I am pleased such an exceptional job was done.”

An update on the installation of air conditioning at the Defiance Community Auditorium was shared by Morton, who told the board, the interior duct work has been completed, the frames for the rooftop units have been made, and the cooling units are expected to be in place by the end of the week. Power to the central office, preschool building and auditorium will be shut down on Monday at 3 p.m. for the installation of the units.

The board also heard discussion about approving the Defiance High School Baseball Parents Group as a district support organization. Treasurer/CFO Cheryl Swisher explained because the organization is looking to raise funds outside of the parents themselves (for a spring trip), the group would need to be approved by the board to safeguard itself, and the district for a number of reasons. Rob Held was in attendance for the group to answer any questions.

“Katie Held (Rob’s wife and a member of the parents group) and (DHS baseball coach) Tom Held approached the board in June and asked about the criteria to raise funds for a spring trip,” said Swisher. “So I shared the criteria with them and explained why the group would need to be approved by the board. Because it plans to have fundraisers, it has to have its own general liability insurance to safeguard itself and the district in the event something would happen.”

Said board president Garry Rodenberger, “Voting to approve them as a support group protects the group, the district and the public. It just makes sense.”

The board approved a resolution to establish the Defiance High School Baseball Parents Group as a district support organization.

Morton shared also that the auction of the old Defiance Middle School contents will take place Saturday at 9 a.m., and that a two-hour delay will take place Sept. 24 so that the Universal Design for Learning team could meet to discuss Growth Mindset Learning for the staff and students.

The board did meet in executive session following regular session for the investigation of charges or complaints against a public employee, official, licensee or regulated individual; and to consider the purchase of property for public purposes or for the sale of property at competitive bidding.

No action was taken following executive session.

In other business, the board:

• accepted the following donations: school supplies from Dollar General in the approximate amount of $150; and 375 books from Read for Literacy to Defiance Elementary School with an approximate value of $1,875.

• approved the resignation of the following individuals: April Fruit, bus driver 4.5 hours per day, effective Sept. 12; Ed Hill, bus aide, 5.75 hours per day, effective Sept. 13; Michelle Schmunk, Defiance Elementary custodian 8 hours per day, effective Sept. 6; and Sara Ohm, middle school spelling bee instructor.

• okayed the transfer of the following individuals: Carol Keezer, from middle school dishroom 3.5 hours per day, to high school server 3.75 hours per day for 2019-20; and Angeline Brown, from middle school cashier 3.5 hours per day, to high school assistant cook 5.75 hours per day, effective Sept. 3.

• voted for the employment of the following individuals: Robert Hegler, bus driver 4.5 hours per day, effective Sept. 13; Christa Jones, middle school spelling bee instructor; and Susi Blank, Ned Clark, Cathy Booth and Mary Ream Schroeder, spring musical assistants.

• approved the following substitutes, as needed: Shannon Alvarado, aide; Lorena Martinez, aide; Cassandra Passalacqua, aide/cafeteria; Heather Rodriguez, aide; Jessica Shong, aide/cafeteria; Blake Baltrip, bus/van driver; Dennis Hammersmith, bus/van driver; Rey Romero, bus/van driver; and Wayne Smith, bus/van driver.

• okayed the following certified substitute teachers as approved by the NwOESC for 2019-20: Josiah Gordon, Beth Headley, Casey Helton, Jessica Keene, Brittany McClarren, Jake Sierra, Sara Smith, Elizabeth Steen, Adam Subasic, Gary Vogelsong and Jamie Wisda.

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