PAULDING — Remote learning and the five-year fiscal forecast were the main topics of discussion during the Paulding Exempted Village Board of Education meeting Tuesday evening.
Paulding High School principal Chris Etzler was in attendance to discuss remote learning, sharing with the board that high school students went remote a week and a half ago due to a good number of students needing to quarantine. Students returned to school on Monday, but Etzler shared remote learning went very well.
“The two big benefits we had this year were one, our staff worked really hard at the beginning of the year using PD (professional development) days to train on Google Classroom, recording lessons and becoming comfortable with the technology,” said Etzler. “A lot of them use it all the time now.
“The other benefit, this time we were able to talk to the kids about what was going to happen and we laid out our expectations,” continued Etzler. “Our kids also had the benefit of being with their teachers one full day before going remote. Comparing last year to this year, there’s really no comparison.”
Junior Alivya Balke, who was in attendance for class credit, addressed the board and said: “I liked that we had more one-on-one time with the teacher this year, as opposed to just jumping into it like last year, which was very overwhelming. Having set times with the teacher was better this year, too.”
During the past week and a half, high school teachers worked from their classrooms and were available from 8-10 a.m. each morning to answer emails and/or phone calls. Students operated on a two-hour delay schedule, meaning they started their remote learning from home at 10 a.m.
Teachers instructed students through Google Classroom using ZOOM and recorded lessons, and posted activities and assessments following their established class schedule. Students were required to complete and submit all assigned activities and assignments by the stated deadline to receive credit.
“Our schedule gave our teachers and our students more structure (compared to last year),” said Etzler.
Superintendent Ken Amstutz shared that students who did not have internet access at home were brought into school to learn in-person. That was, on average, about 3-4 students per day across the district.
Amstutz also announced the entire district will go remote Nov. 23-24 as a test. All teachers will use the same schedule the high school teachers did the past week and a half when that building went to remote learning.
On Friday, building principals will send home instructions on how the remote learning days of Nov. 23-24 will be constructed, with students bringing home all necessary equipment and materials.
“I want to commend our staff and students, and even though we’ve had a few hiccups, we’re getting through this because we’re continuing to do what we need to do when we’re in school,” said Amstutz. “Our kids and staff are wearing masks, we’re social distancing as much as possible ... we’re going to continue to do what’s right so our kids can be in school. That’s what best for everyone.”
Etzler gave a brief update on winter sports, explaining that the gym can only be filled to 15% capacity for boys and girls basketball and wrestling. He did share that 102.7 FM in Antwerp will live-stream all Paulding, Antwerp and Wayne Trace home winter sports events. A link to Paulding events can be found at pauldingschools.org.
Amstutz also told the board that of the nearly 170 students who started the year as virtual learners, when the second semester starts, that number will have decreased to approximately 60 students.
CFO/treasurer Kim Sprague presented the five-year fiscal forecast, sharing the November forecast looks much better than it did in May, but that the district is still expected to finish fiscal year 2021 in the red.
“Compared to May, our income tax revenue is better than projected, but we are still looking at negative spending for the year,” said Sprague. “Ken and I are keeping a watchful eye on expenditures, which is really only where we have any control, because with COVID, revenues are uncertain.”
The district is projected to finish with a $1,086,567 loss, bringing the cash balance to a projected $6,989,138.
The board approved the five-year forecast.
In other business, the board:
• approved the close-out of the press box fund with the Paulding County Area Foundation for $1,185.
• okayed Nikolai Paschall as a graduate with the class of 2021 after meeting the requirements on Nov. 18.
• voted for the resignation of Brian Jacobs, Paulding Elementary kindergarten teacher, effective Oct. 30. He served the district for seven years.
• approved the following one-year limited extra-curricular supplemental contracts for 2020-21: Brian Porter, head wrestling coach; Thor Etter/fifth-sixth grade wrestling; Aaron Mock, assistant wrestling coach; Elias Jimenez, junior high wrestling coach; Ethan Rhonehouse, freshman boys basketball coach; Jennifer Dietz, high school cheer advisor, basketball; Evan Edwards, junior high basketball volunteer; Jason Germann, wrestling volunteer; and Kalen Kelly, audio/visual fall play (25%).
• rescinded the previously issued one-year extra-curricular supplemental contract for Brett Beckman as freshman boys basketball coach.
• okayed Garrett Stoller as athletic field painter at a rate of $18 per hour for 2020.