Pictured (l-r) are Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education members Tom Milbery, Beverly Rhoads, Bill Myers, Jerry Walker and Larry Lyons. (HCP Photos/Caitlin Forsha)
Pictured (l-r) are Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education members Tom Milbery, Beverly Rhoads, Bill Myers, Jerry Walker and Larry Lyons. (HCP Photos/Caitlin Forsha)
The June 20 Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education meeting was dedicated to making plans for the upcoming school year, including discussions of grant funding, audits and expenditures, school handbooks, employment and building improvements.

Superintendent Tim Davis gave a report on the district’s “very busy summer,” particularly with completing a number of improvement projects using federal relief dollars before students return to school in August.

As previously reported, the board approved two contracts for facility improvements in January, including using the district’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief [ARP ESSER] funds and some Permanent Improvement funds to make a number of repairs at the district buildings.

At the elementary school, Davis said crews are “getting close to finishing up the roof replacement,” as well as “replacing the floors in the hallways and both cafeterias of the elementary.

“They've sanded that down to where they are getting ready to start putting the final coats on, so that is exciting,” Davis said.

The classroom entryways have also been painted red to match the high school/middle school.

Also at the elementary school, efforts to “upgrade both playgrounds” are underway. Davis said they encountered “issues with some water” on one end of the playground, so crews “had to put in a drain, just to make sure that we didn't ruin that before we kind of got started.”

The elementary, high school and middle school are getting new HVAC units installed, which has led to some issues for events at the high school as the work continues.

“If you've been in there for basketball, we've had some days where it's been extremely cold because we can't heat up the water to heat up the temperature because it always runs cold,” Davis said. “They are putting those things in and out. It's coming right along.”

The schools are also getting new LED lighting systems installed, which is still in a work in progress, according to the superintendent.

“They started at the middle school/high school, and they're working their way around,” Davis said.

The high school gym floor is being refinished starting this week, he added.

“All construction is in process and moving right along,” Davis said. “Timelines seem to be on schedule, and it just will depend on materials. The chillers and boilers are really the only thing right now — actually, it’s the boilers instead of the chillers, I believe — are looking at late August to September of when those will be in. We're looking at hopefully by fair break, if not later, on those, but everything else seems to be moving right along.”

In other plans for the 2022-23 school year, Davis thanked transportation coordinator Ron Ward and his staff for getting the school bus fleet “inspected and stickered and ready to go.”

The superintendent also reported that the district is working on “completing our staffing needs.”

“We just have one or two [positions] left to fill, depending on what happens between now and the end of summer,” Davis said. “We’re very excited about the new hires that we've hired either tonight or at the special meeting and looking forward to the start of the school year.”

After hearing from Davis, the lone board member report came from Beverly Rhoads, who discussed the June 8 Great Oaks board meeting. She said that at the meeting, the board heard from President/CEO Harry Snyder and Treasurer/CFO Ben Vanhorn, who “reviewed the strategies and goals that were given to the board at the start of the 2021-22 school year and discussed the action taken through the year” related to each strategy.

The rest of the evening, as well as a hearing held before the start of the regular board meeting, was devoted to voting on numerous approvals to either wrap up the 2021-22 school year or to get ready for 2022-23.

Prior to the regular meeting, district treasurer Ben Teeters conducted a hearing on the federal grant budget.

For the 2022-23 school year, the district is being allocated more funds compared to the previous year for:

• The 516 Special Education Part B IDEA grant ($620,513.36), used for special education teachers, aides, purchased services for online programs, instructional supplies and a special education secretary for the district and for speech services “and possibly” a special education teacher for Hillsboro Christian Academy;

• The 572 Title I grant ($888,203.34), used for title teacher and title paraprofessional salaries, family/community expenses and supplies for the HCS district and for purchased services for St. Mary Catholic School and HCA;

• The 590 Improving Teacher Quality Title IIA grant ($118,378.90), which will be used for professional development for district leadership team members, training for staff and training supplies for the HCS district and for professional development and related supplies for St. Mary and HCA; and

• The 587 Early Childhood Special Education IDEA grant ($19,024.05), which is used for itinerant services (Hopewell) at instructional supplies.

The only grant that shows a decrease is the 584 Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant, which is $64,711.64, down from $71,017.94 last year. That funding is used for mental health counseling for the HCS district and for safety services and supplies for St. Mary and HCA.

Board member Larry Lyons asked why that one was decreased. Teeters said he didn’t “know why they did that.”

“Most of the other accounts are based on our needy kids, so I don’t know what the Title IV-A is based on,” Teeters said.

There are two grants for which the district has not yet received their allotment for 2022-23: the 599 Rural and Low Income grant ($52,235.71 last year), used for alternative school tutoring and to pay for the PLATO program; and the High Schools That Work grant ($8,000 last year and expected to be $8,000 again this year), used for the district leadership team and professional development supplies.

The list of proposed federal funds also includes the original amounts for the ARP awards, as Teeters said the district has until the end of fiscal year 2023 to expend all of that money. That includes the $785,574.54 ESSER, the $3,075,912.66 ESSER II and the $4,605,375.26 ARP ESSER grants, all of which the district is in the process of spending on various projects (including the aforementioned building improvements), services and/or salaries.

Later, during the regular meeting, the board unanimously passed a resolution to approve all of these grants for the 2023 fiscal year.

The following motions also each passed by a 5-0 vote.

• The board approved the financial reports as presented. Teeters reported a general fund cash balance of $8,249,041 in May, up from $7,731,885 in May 2021; expenditures of $2,366,688, down from $2,432,935 last year; and revenues of $2,040,613, up from $1,557,031 last year.

“We've got the revenue for the rest of our real estate tax money for the February closing,” Teeters said. “We got balance of it in May, about $885,000, and we’re getting ready to close out another school year.”

• The fiscal year 2021 audit has been completed and was approved as presented.

Teeters pointed out that state auditors did make a noncompliance finding due to the district paying $112 in sales tax despite being “exempt from payment of sales tax.” Auditors also found that the district “made purchases for staff recognition in the amount of $582” through the food service account instead of the general fund.

“They’re not making any findings for recovery or anything,” Teeters said. “They approved the audit, and it was very good.”

• The board approved a memorandum of understanding with the Hillsboro Police Department for the placement of Officer Zach Burnett as a full-time school resource officer for the 2022-23 school year.

“The police department does have more of a full staff, so we're able to have Zach full time starting this school year,” Davis said. “Originally, we started with two [officers] a couple years ago, and then due to staffing, last year, he wasn't in the building a lot because he needed to be on the road with them.

“We’re back with Zach full time, and we're very excited.”

Davis added that the district is also working on some safety initiatives with the department and the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District this summer.

• In three separate motions, the board approved 2022-23 handbooks for the elementary school, preschool and the middle school/high school.

According to Davis, the elementary handbook had minor changes, mostly involving “dates and a few times,” while the changes to the preschool handbook were more substantial.

“We had a few things in the preschool dealing with the way the classes are set up through the state,” Davis said. “We had to do what's called an integrated classroom. It used to be eight and eight — eight regular ed, eight special ed — and they've kind of changed that so we can have up to 20 with six students who have special needs.

“We've changed it to what is called an integrated classroom for both our morning and afternoon, and then we also changed the pay scale as a $150 flat rate instead of per day, and that is September through May.”

Similarly, Davis said the middle school/high school handbook has updated dates and times as well as some changes to their Chromebook policy.

“Middle school is going to be getting out at 2:25, high school’s going to get out a little earlier at 2:18, just so they can get out the parking lot, and then also for the middle school kids to get on the buses,” Davis said. “We’ve changed some of the Chromebook one-on-one policy to include middle schoolers. We're going to try to extend that a little bit for kids be able to sign those out and take those home with them and see how responsible they are with those Chromebooks — especially the eighth graders is what we're really looking at, for them to be able to utilize the Chromebooks at home.”

The MS/HS handbook will also include banning wearing headphones and earbuds in the hallways and cafeteria, addressing past issues; updated lunch prices; working lunch procedures; and “dealing with hats in the building,” which Davis said will be “classroom discretion.”

• The final appropriations for fiscal year 2022, totaling $51,912,082.78, were approved.

“We handled $51 million last year, almost $52 [million],” Teeters said. “A lot of it — about $10 million of it — is the ESSERs money that we have appropriated. That doesn’t mean we spent it, but these are the appropriations that we had allocated to spend. The biggest part of it was still the general fund [$25 million].”

• The treasurer also presented the temporary appropriations for fiscal year 2023, totaling $39,060,203.34, for approval.

“These are just temporary appropriations so we can get started in July, and the first of October, we'll have the permanent ones all in place,” Teeters said. “All these figures will increase.”

• Also approved were fund transfers of $65,722 and $150,000.

“The first one is for bond retirement, putting $65,000 in there to pay off some bonds,” Teeters said. “The next one is to replenish our severance pay account because we had about $150,000 worth of teachers retire on severance pay this year.”

• The board approved the purchase orders over $25,000 for fiscal year 2023: American Electric Power ($400,000), AT&T ($36,000), Ennis & Britton LPA ($30,000), Auditor of State ($30,000); Gordon Foods ($550,000), RH Holder ($200,000), Hillsboro Public Utilities ($82,000), Prairie Farms ($89,000), Millennium Business ($53,000), Multi-Vendor ($473,000), Pepsi ($30,000), Pike Natural Gas ($176,000) and Rumpke ($32,000).

• The board approved donations of $100 from the First Presbyterian Church and $1,000 from Dr. Lesia Langston-McKenna, DMD, both toward the HCS Tomahawk kickoff event. During the passage of that resolution, board president Bill Myers asked how the kickoff event went.

“We moved it to the elementary because of weather,” Davis said. “We still had a very good turnout. It was very exciting. A lot of people came, and we had it in the gym. It worked out well.

“I’m glad we moved it because it poured down about the time they were kicking off, so it was a very good move on [food service director Jessica Walker’s] part to change the venue and have it inside.”

• The board approved the following individuals for the contracts and positions indicated: certified, 2022-23 (all one-year contracts) — intervention specialist Shawna Collins, middle school counselor Kayla Gauche and teachers Tiffany Gelter, Megan MacIvor, Garrett Ross, Pam Sebastian and Tobi Stevens; Haggerty Training, three hours — Candace McCleese, hourly rate; kindergarten registration — Sarah Beyersdoerfer, Crystal Moore and Nicole Shawhan, hourly rate, and Kristine Wigginton, $25/hour; and mentor 2021-22, Debbie Howard.

• Resignations were approved for teachers Holly Burgess, Aaron Chaney, Caroline Dixon, Clyde Snow and Megan Wagoner, all effective end of 2021-22 contract year; teacher Linda Mull, effective June 20, due to retirement; and custodian Gregory Schumacher, effective July 29, due to retirement.

• The board approved a leave of absence for custodian Glenna Purdin, effective May 20-June 1.

• The board approved the liability, fleet and property insurance with Southern Ohio EPC from July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023 in the amount of $125,609.

• Zoe Crouch was approved as a graduate of the class of 2022.

• An exchange student from Spain, Iker Guerra Coloma, was approved to attend Hillsboro High School during the 2022-23 school year.

• The board approved two standard annual resolutions regarding lunch: one to approve the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program and Smart Snack Program, and one to approve the 2022-23 school lunch charge guidelines.

• The board approved the Local Government Services contract with the Auditor of State.

“This is the group from the State Auditor's Office who do our GAAP accounting every year,” Teeters said. “They come in and do the pre-audit of all the GAAP inventory. This is just to renew their contracts.”

• The board approved the seeking of sealed bids for the disposal of several transportation vehicles, including two vans and two passenger buses.