Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education student representative Ethan Kirk shakes hands with district treasurer Ben Teeters after taking the oath of office. (HCP Photos/Caitlin Forsha)
Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education student representative Ethan Kirk shakes hands with district treasurer Ben Teeters after taking the oath of office. (HCP Photos/Caitlin Forsha)
The Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education welcomed its newest member Monday, Sept. 19, as Ethan Kirk was sworn in as the student board representative for the 2022-23 school year.

District treasurer Ben Teeters administered the oath of office to the new student board rep — who is the son of Denny and Alexis Kirk — at the start of Monday’s meeting. After being sworn in, Kirk received a round of applause, as board members, Teeters and superintendent Tim Davis also shook hands with him and congratulated him on the honor.

According to Davis, the district has had a busy start to the new school year, as his report to the board included recent award, activity and athletic updates.

“It’s been a good start to the school year,” Davis said. “We’re very pleased with everything that we've improved on and settling in, so we’re looking for a great year.”

Davis told the board that Hillsboro Elementary and Hillsboro Middle School received state PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) awards for 2021-22, with the elementary school earning a bronze award the middle school earning a silver award. The schools were selected for their implementation of PBIS, “a framework that guides school teams in the selection, integration and implementation of evidence-based practices for improving academic, social and behavior outcomes for all students,” according to the Ohio Department of Education.

“Congratulations to them,” he said.

With the Highland County Fair now over, Davis said the district is in “the most critical part of our year between now and Thanksgiving, trying to get as much done as we can.

“Most of the time before fair break, we do a lot of data collection procedures and setting up different groups,” Davis said. “Now it's time for us to settle in and really get to work.”

As was also discussed by board member Larry Lyons in his report to the board, Davis told the board the business advisory committee met Sept. 13, with the committee discussing efforts to promote their alumni’s accomplishments.

An alumni page has been established on LinkedIn to allow Hillsboro graduates to spotlight “what they’ve done” since leaving the district.

“A lot of times when people leave here, we lose touch with them, and we've got a lot of alumni out there that are doing great things,” Davis said. “We’ve got that page up and going, so they can kind of connect and see where their classmates have gone.”

In his report, Lyons encouraged HHS graduates to join the alumni LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/hillsboro-high-school-alumni.

Another topic during the business advisory committee meeting was plans for this year’s senior showcase, which will be held March 31, Davis said.

“Our high school counselors Mrs. [Jessica] Rhoades and Mrs. [Tina] Young discussed our credentials that we offer, new additions from the state of Ohio and our senior showcase,” Davis said. “That is going to be on March 31, where we bring in businesses to either do interviews or to conduct informational sessions from different workplaces in the community for our kids to have an option to either be employed or future employment.”

In other news, the summer’s construction work on the district’s buildings using American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds is “about 90-percent complete,” Davis said, with mostly “punch list” items left.

“Our roof is just waiting on final approval,” Davis said. “The lights are almost completely done. HVAC is almost done, with the exception of the chillers that we are waiting on that still need to be delivered. Everything else is pretty much in, and then they're about 60-percent complete with replacing all of the VAV [Variable Air Volume] controllers for room temperatures.”

In an update on Hillsboro varsity sports, Davis said that as of Monday, the football team was 3-2; boys soccer was 4-3-2; girls soccer was 3-5; volleyball was 3-4; girls tennis was 4-10; the girls cross-country team had won three races and placed second in another; the boys cross-country team had won two races; and the girls and boys golf teams were competing in Frontier Athletic Conference tournaments Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

“We’re almost midway through most of our fall seasons, and some of them are almost done,” Davis said.

Also in his report, Davis congratulated board member Beverly Rhoads on her recent induction into the Highland County Hall of Fame, with those in attendance giving her a round of applause.

Other board reports included:

• In his first report to the board, Kirk recapped three recent events held to kick off the school year, as Hillsboro celebrated homecoming during the week of Sept. 12.

“[National Honor Society] did their powderpuff/beefcake pep rally for homecoming week,” Kirk said. “The student council hosted their homecoming.

“Then, the band started an alumni thing for the game the week of homecoming. Previous band members or community members who played an instrument could come back and play. I know 40 signed up, but I’m not sure how many came.”

Davis said in his report that the homecoming game had a “great turnout,” students enjoyed “great activities for spirit week” and that the homecoming dance was “a success.” He thanked teacher and student council adviser Megan MacIvor for organizing the dance.

“I think Mrs. MacIvor was the person in charge of most of the homecoming in her first year in our district,” Davis said. ‘She did an excellent job being kind of thrown into the fire, and she did extremely well. We’re very pleased that she stepped in and did that.”

• Board member Jerry Walker referred to a report by fellow board member Tom Milbery earlier this year, spotlighting “the closet,” which includes clothes, toiletries and other essentials for students in need.

Walker called attention to another service that benefits area youths, Soles for Students, an organization run by local attorney Susan Davis Thompson.

“[She] revealed that they had 4,000 pairs of shoes that are contributed to the school districts in Highland County over the year, and I just was struck by that,” Walker said. “I was amazed, honestly.

“Reflecting back on what Tom said, there are needs that exist beyond academics. We've certainly focused on food and nutrition as part of that, and wellness as part of that, but there also can be some physical needs for clothing and shoes. It's just a nice feature that we have. We don't talk about it a lot, but we do get support from quite a few people and sources.”

• Rhoads gave an update on the Great Oaks Career Campuses meeting, including announcing the unanimous approval of Brian Rabe to replace Ben Vanhorn as CFO/treasurer. As previously reported, Vanhorn is retiring effective Dec. 31, 2022.

Also discussed during the Great Oaks meeting was an enrollment update, with Rhoads reporting a “nearly 11-percent increase” in enrollment numbers this year.

Rhoads also reminded the board to RSVP to the Southwest Region’s fall conference, set for Oct. 13 at the Greene County Career Center.

In other business:

• The board approved a new job description and pay scale for a district LPN position.

Davis said that this is a change from how LPNs are currently classified as paraprofessionals.

“This has come up due to the needs that are in our clinics,” Davis said. “Currently, we have one school nurse. We previously had two and had one resigned at the beginning of the year, so we're looking at trying to have LPNs, and right now, if you're an LPN, you are in as a paraprofessional. We do not have a specific job description for an LPN.”

Davis said that the LPN position would be on a “teacher day” schedule, for “seven and a quarter hours, instead of six and a half” for a paraprofessional, and will report to the district nurse.

“That is something that we felt we needed in place, instead of having it tied into our paraprofessional classification, which is very broad,” Davis said.

Walker asked if the LPNs need “any special certification to be in a school.” Davis said that school nurses are required to have “a bachelor’s degree with a school nurse endorsement, but this would not be someone that has the bachelor’s. They would just have the LPN certification, or an RN that doesn’t have a bachelor’s could fall into that as well.”

The superintendent added that they are trying to staff the clinics with “the most trained people as possible” to care for increasingly “complex” needs of students, such as for diabetics.

• The board approved the financial reports as presented. Teeters reported an August 2022 general fund cash balance of $6,871,571, down from $8,271,156 in August 2021; expenses of $2,176,290, down from $2,178,828 last year; and revenues of $1,341,175, down from $3,339,505 a year ago.

The significant decrease in cash balance and revenues is due to the district not yet receiving their second-half real estate tax payment from the county, Teeters said.

Board president Bill Myers asked if the district is “expecting that soon.”

“We are expecting it very soon,” Teeters said. “We’ve been calling.”

• The board approved a change of status for the following staff members: Macy Anderson, Rachel Bohrer, Melissa Boysel, Shawna Collins, Chris Fauber, Matthew Garman, Kayla Gauche, Tiffany Gelter, Trevor Gleadle, Megan MacIvor, Heather Mathews, Jeffrey McRill, Olivia Page, Trista Rhodes, Garrett Ross, Jerri Ruble, Rebecca Smith, Tobi Stevens, Marissa Hamilton Stone and Ellen Wright.

With the exception of Fauber being changed from high school reserve boys basketball to high school assistant boys varsity basketball coach and Gleadle being changed from high school freshman boys basketball coach to high school reserve boys basketball coach, all of the other changes were based on education and experience.

“These are all of our new staff, once we received their years of experience or their education,” Davis said. “They were hired in at step zero, as most of them are, and then they go to their next step based on the information we receive.”

• The board approved a lengthy list of individuals for contracts and positions indicated, including:
— Volunteers (all for Hillsboro Elementary unless otherwise noted): Austin Bumgarner, April Calhoun, Tyrese Cumberland, Kelly Davis, Gina Earley, Elizabeth Florea (all), Renae Gould, Angela Hilterbran, James Juillerat, Justin Maddox, Regina Malone, Bruce Messer, Natalie Miller, Shauna Minton, Danielle Nugent, Janet Schwartz, Adam Steele (Hillsboro Middle School and High School), Wes Wagner, Kylee Warner, Linda Welder and Jessica Wells.
– Supplementals: Nathan Boatman, HS varsity boys golf coach; Rachel Bohrer, spirit store adviser (split); Carey McBride, HS varsity girls golf coach; Tayler Middleton, HS varsity cheerleading coach (football); Taylor Reed, MS cheerleading coach (football); Larue Turner, HS girls tennis coach; Matt Schneider, HS varsity swimming coach; and Ben Young, MS girls cross-country coach.
— Mentor: Celia Griffin.
— Classified: Crystal Block, bus driver, and Kathy Clevinger, custodian, both retroactive to Sept. 16.
— Sub certified: Ronna Achor, Dustin Bair, Vicky Beltz, Baylee Carey, Jessica Chase, Trent Dye, Joyce Ford, Randy McFarland, Cynthia Olds, Drake Pence, Susan Veronica Stewart, Shane Walterhouse, Shawn Young and Laura Wolf (retroactive to Aug. 1).
— Sub classified: Harrison Gallaugher and Emma Malone, aides; Brandon Haines, custodian; Shelly Johnson, aide, clerical, cook; Jennifer Wilson, aide, clerical, cook, custodian.
— DLC: Jordan Clark, Michael Domitor, Matt Garman, Tanya Hendrix, Mandi Jones, Ben Miller, Josh Pohlman, Jessica Rhoades, Mercedes Reese, Shannon Yochum and Tina Young.
— LLI training, four hours: Kirsten Harp, hourly rate.
— Heggerty training, three hours, $35/hour: Shawna Collins, Tiffany Gelter, Blake Kibler, Madison Klaiss, Heather Mathews, Rodney Newman, Olivia Page, Trista Rhodes, Matt Sexton and Marissa Stone.

• The board approved revisions to the following policies: Policy #1617 Weapons (Administration); Policy #2280 Preschool Program; Policy #2413 Career Advising; Policy #2430 District-Sponsored Clubs and Activities; Policy #2431 Interscholastic Athletics; Policy #3120.08 Employment of Personnel for Co-curricular/Extracurricular Activities; Policy #3217 Weapons (Professional Staff); Policy #4217 Weapons (Classified Staff); Policy #5111 Eligibility of Resident/Nonresident Students; Policy #5335 Care of Students with Chronic Health Conditions; Policy #5336 Care of Students with Diabetes; Policy #5460.01 Diploma Deferral; Policy #6700 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); Policy #7217 Weapons (Visitors); Policy #7440 Plant Security; Policy #7440.03 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems; Policy #8210 School Calendar; Policy #8320 Personnel File; Policy #8330 Student Records; and Policy #8600 Transportation.

Davis said the updates were largely “wordsmithing” with minor changes of “one or two words.”

• The board approved two out-of-state field trips: one for eighth grade students to Washington D.C. on May 9-12, 2023, and one for FFA students to Indianapolis, Ind. on Oct. 26-29, to attend the 2022 National Convention.

• The board approved leaves of absence for teachers Kayla Bagshaw (effective Sept. 28-Nov. 23) and Julia Basford (effective July 26-Sept. 20).

• Resignations of bus driver Wanetta Cooper, effective Sept. 12, and spirit store adviser Pam Harp, effective 2022-23 school year, were accepted.

• The following donations were accepted: an anonymous donation of used children’s books for the elementary school; an anonymous donation of $20 toward hand sanitizer for the elementary school; a $300 and a $200 donation, both anonymous, toward elementary Camp Joy fees; an anonymous donation of $200 toward clothing for elementary students; and a $200 donation from Ladies Auxiliary toward school supplies for students.

• The board approved instructional services provided to a district student by Learn Well. According to Davis, “this is five hours of educational services for a student that was placed in their facility starting August 29. It was something where they were placed in their facility, and we had to pay to educate them.”

• Following their regular business, the board entered an executive session to discuss the appointment employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion or compensation of a public employee. No action was anticipated, according to Myers.