From left, pictured are Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education members Tom Milbery, Beverly Rhoads, Bill Myers, Jerry Walker and Larry Lyons, student representative Sophie Bourne and treasurer Ben Teeters. (HCP Photos/Caitlin Forsha)
From left, pictured are Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education members Tom Milbery, Beverly Rhoads, Bill Myers, Jerry Walker and Larry Lyons, student representative Sophie Bourne and treasurer Ben Teeters. (HCP Photos/Caitlin Forsha)
The Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education heard an update on year-end activities, honored their student board representative and approved the five-year forecast during their Monday, May 18 meeting.

Superintendent Tim Davis reported “a ton of things” going on in the district over the past month, as spring sports and other activities are wrapping up, graduation is approaching and other projects are nearing completion as well.

Recent events include a baccalaureate ceremony last Saturday for seniors; high school and middle school band concerts; high school and middle school choir concerts; and “A Night of One Acts” performance. A staff appreciation event will also be held this week, Davis said.

For ongoing projects, Davis said the new high school auditorium, which is already in use, is “about 99-percent completed,” with speakers still needing to be installed. The parking lot by the auditorium and Everetts Way — an access road connecting the high school/middle school to state Route 247 — will also “basically be completed once the asphalt gets done,” according to the superintendent.

“We just pushed that back to now wait until after school,” Davis said. “We’re just going to do that once everyone’s done so they don’t have to stop for buses, have one lane and then kind of get in and do their work.

“We’re waiting on basically the paving and striping to open up Everetts Way. We are using it for bus departure in the morning. We open up the barriers for them to pull out, and then we close them back just because we don’t have lines and things like that.”

Davis added that even just using the access road in the mornings for the buses has made “a huge difference” already.

“We’re looking forward to next year’s traffic flow,” Davis said. “When you take away 30 buses going through the main driveway, it has really freed some things up and allowed people to pull in. There’s not as much traffic. It’s just been nice to see that, and we’re very excited about that.”

Board president Bill Myers asked if the buses have also been “releasing out that way” in the afternoons.

“No,” Davis said. “It’s only in the morning, for the way they face.

“We are going to work on how we’re going to be able to pull some of those in, depending on whether or not we can turn them around to get out 247, but right now, it’s just been awesome in the morning.”

Davis also spoke about the high school graduation ceremony, which will be held Sunday. As the state and federal recommendations continue to ease up on COVID-19 restrictions, Davis said there was some talk of postponing the ceremony, but they are going to continue the protocols they’ve followed since the start of the school year.

“I know there’s been a stir of what the CDC recommendations have been,” Davis said. “They also just came out again saying that they recommend schools continue the COVID-19 prevention strategies outlined with what we’ve been doing, and finishing the year the way we’ve started, and that’s safe and wearing the masks. We’re going to continue that for the next two school days plus graduation.”

Masks will be required for everyone at the high school graduation, and attendance will be limited to four tickets per graduating senior, Davis added.

For an update on spring sports, the superintendent said that there have been several Frontier Athletic Conference champions, such as the boys tennis team (with Lawton Parry named FAC player of the year), high school softball team and middle school boys track and field team. The middle school girls track team finished second in the conference, the high school girls track team was third and the high school boys track team was fourth, Davis said. The varsity baseball team won their sectional semifinal game Monday night, and the varsity track and field teams compete in the district meet Tuesday and Saturday.

Davis also gave departing student representative Sophie Bourne a gift on behalf of the administration and board.

“I do want to thank Sophie for putting in a lot of time, for a difficult year,” Davis said. “I know she has had a very good relationship with Mr. Turner in working with our senior class to have that communication because it was, ‘What can we do? What will work?’ She’s put in a lot of hard work, not only as our board rep but also as senior class president.

“Sophie, I just want to thank you for being here and giving us your reports and your insight in working with Mr. Turner and making it the best that you could for a very difficult year.”

Davis said that in talking about the class of 2020 and the things they missed out on, as well as the class of 2021 missing part of their junior year and then facing “an entire year of changes,” Bourne served as a great voice for her class.

“You had a great, positive attitude, and a lot of people didn’t that,” Davis said. “You had to be the liaison between Mr. Turner and the administration and a lot of the kids, and you handled that extremely well.”

During her report, Bourne gave her final presentation to the board, speaking about the final activities for this year’s senior class. She reported that prom was “fun,” as was their senior class trip Monday to Urban Air Adventure Park. That was to be followed this week by graduation practice, a banquet and walking through the high school/middle school and elementary school before the actual graduation ceremony Sunday.

“I think all the seniors are just ready for Sunday,” Bourne said. “I have mixed feelings about it. I don’t know how to like not be attached to Hillsboro, but I think everyone’s just in a lot of emotions because we’ve been with the school for 12 years.

“We’re excited, and I’m excited to graduate and excited to see what we all do. I think everyone else is just ready. I’m ready.”

In other reports, board member Beverly Rhoads attended the May 12 Great Oaks Career Campuses board meeting, where she said the board approved a five-year contract for president/CEO Harry Snyder and four-year contract for treasurer/CFO Ben Vanhorn.

Larry Lyons gave “kudos to Mr. Davis and Mr. [Ben] Teeters for doing a nice job” on the five-year forecast and “keeping the balance sheet in good shape.”

For a legislative update, Lyons said things “have really kind of been quiet the last couple of weeks because they’re spending most of their time trying to settle on what the budget’s going to be.”

Tom Milbery and Myers both reported on a recent athletic committee meeting.

“It was good to hear that we’re going to be addressing the needs of our present facilities, utilizing space and making necessary improvements,” Milbery said. “Our minds are on that, and I think that’s a good thing.”

“It was good to meet and kind of map out next steps and see where we’re at,” Myers added.

The board also approved the following motions, each by a 6-0 vote unless otherwise noted:

• Treasurer Ben Teeters presented the five-year forecast, which was approved by the board.

Their May 2020 five-year forecast, in the midst of funding cuts and many unknowns due to the pandemic, had predicted the district “could be in a negative balance by 2024.” In October 2020, Teeters said the district’s cash balance was estimated to be in the red by $2,598,985 in 2025 “unless the revenues from the state and local tax money is increased,” according to Teeters.

As for the forecast approved Monday, Teeters said the district is hoping for an increase in state foundation funds and plans to offset some of the expenses by not replacing retiring staff.

“The five-year forecast is pretty much flatlined, like in past history,” Teeters said. “We’re estimating that the revenues to finish FY21 will be $29,854,000, and then by 2025, I’m estimating the revenues will be about $33,082,000.

“We don’t know really what the state foundation program is going to do for the next biennium, which comes out in June, and that money will start July 1. We’re hoping that we get an increase in funds.”

According to Teeters, salaries and benefits account for “usually 75 to 80 percent” of the revenue usage, and the district is looking into “reduction of salaries” as staff members leave.

“We’ve got several teachers that are resigning for retirement purposes, and at the present time, with our student enrollment being down, Mr. Davis is looking into not really replacing all of the ones who are going to be retiring,” Teeters said. “That’s a help in reduction of salaries for the school district.

“Basically, I’m looking at everything holding steady until about year 2023, which our funds will probably — anticipated, could possibly — be in the red by $500,000 with foundation and state aid staying as it has been in the past.”

Board member Jerry Walker asked if there was an “acceptable standard” for salaries and benefits “that is a good target range.” Teeters said it’s generally in the 75-80 percent range “because basically that’s what our budget is used for.”

“We’re close to 78 or 79 percent at the present time,” Teeters said. “You’d always like to see it lower, but we’re not out of line where we are.”

Teeters added that “student counts are kind of dropping” due to COVID-19, and he is forecasting lower enrollment, therefore meaning they will need fewer staff members.

“Maybe we should find a way to sell our school system to some of the students who might want to come here,” Walker said. “A public relations campaign.”

Teeters pointed out that it could be a situation where “the students are not out there,” with fewer “kids of school age” in the county.

In addition to the forecast, the board approved the financial reports as presented. Teeters reported an April 2021 general fund cash balance of $8,607,790, compared to $8,360,484 in April 2020; monthly expenses of $2,512,061, compared to $2,159,480 last year; and revenues of $2,691,206, compared to $2,224,731 the previous year.

“We’re running on an even keel with past history, so things are still good for the school,” Teeters said.

• The Worker’s Compensation Group Plan with Sedgwick was approved for calendar year 2022. The contract fee is $1,220, with an estimated premium of $58,541. Teeters said that the total is “staying steady” and that the district “hasn’t had a whole bunch of claims.”

• A contract with the City of Hillsboro for two school resource officers for the 2021-22 school year was approved.

“We worked with the city to again continue the safety we started a couple years with resource officers,” Davis said. “[Hillsboro Police] Chief [Eric] Daniels and the mayor are on board with us having one in each building, so we’re going to continue that just to ensure the safety for ours students and staff.”

Walker asked if Davis had “any anecdotal stories” to show how the officers “helped this past school year.”

“They’ve been doing a lot more with attendance,” Davis said. “They go to court for us when we do file on truancy.

“They both do a very good job of monitoring the parking lots and the pickup areas to and from the building. They have a very nice presence in our parking lot at the high school and elementary.”

• In two separate motions, the board approved selling Bus No. 1 for scrap and donating Bus No. 21 to Great Oaks Career Campuses.

Teeters said that the two buses approved for purchase at their April meeting will replace both buses. He also clarified that the donated bus will be used “for training” purposes at Great Oaks, not for transportation.

“Mr. [Ron] Ward [transportation supervisr] has worked out with Great Oaks that this bus will be used in their schooling to help their firefighters and stuff to working school buses to get people out of it if there was an accident,” Teeters said. “He’d reached out to them, and they worked out a deal.”

• The board approved a list of donations, including a drum for the high school music department from an anonymous donor, a $350 donation from Hunter Family Chiropractic for the high school girls bowling team and the following donations for the HCS Tomahawk kickoff event: Bear Mechanical LLC, $250; Ford Excavation LLC, $100; Hillsboro Family Vision, $100; Hedges Supply Inc., $100; Higgins Construction & Supply Company, $150; Hillsboro First United Methodist Church, $500; Hillsboro H&R Block, $200; Hillsboro Woman’s Club, $50; Jani Chem Inc., $100; Judge Rocky A. Coss, $200; Lesia J. Langston-McKenna, D.M.D., $500; Lisa Lederer, $100; Merchants National Bank, $100; Ohio Asphaltic Limestone Corp., $100; Railroad Tools & Solutions LLC, $500; Rick Williams Auction Company, $50; Southern Hills Community Bank, $150; Town and Country, $200; and Wilkin-Wilkin Insurance Company, $100.

“We just are very grateful for the community that we have and their willingness to help, especially with something as awesome as our food truck’s been for our community,” Myers said. “We’d like to thank all these businesses.”

• Leaves of absence were approved for teachers Michael Brush, Jean Fauber and Jennifer Howland; secretary Angie Juillerat; and paraprofessional Tina Scott. A leave of absence for paraprofessional Donica Haines was also approved, with Lyons abstaining.

• The following resignations were approved: curriculum specialists Michelle Beumer and Alicia Sellins; director of special education Pam Sebastian; and paraprofessionals Jamie Garrison, Amy Robinson and Teresa Stout.

• The board approved $300 stipends for the following staff members for Lean 6 Sigma Training: Rachel Bohrer, Jordan Clark, Jason Fox, Matthew Garman, Nathan Horne, Jodi Langston, Darci Miles (with Lyons abstaining), Elizabeth McNeal, Ben Miller, Mike Nartker, Jessica Rhoades, Susan Rhoads, Tracy Staggs and Tina Young.

• A lengthy list of individuals were approved for contracts and positions as indicated, including: sub classified — Gary Garvie (custodian) and Brian Roades (bus driver, retroactive to April 21); summer school teacher — Caroline Dixon; administrators — Dave Dietrick (athletic director, one-year with reason), Diane Michael (director of personnel, three-year), Ryan Wagner (assistant middle school principal, three-year) and Jacob Zink (elementary principal, three-year); volunteer — Gabby Lochbaum (coach); one-year contracts — Kayla Bagshaw, Julie Basford, Erin Bramley, Elizabeth Buchanan; Samantha Carpenter, Aaron Chaney, Caroline Dixon, Jessica Fair, Heidi Fawley, Joyce Ford (with reason), Alan Grigsby, Janelle Igo, Rebecca Johnson, Mandi Jones, Blake Kibler, Sandra Kniffley, Edward Letts, Gabrielle Lochbaum, Alayne Matson, Betsy Pettit, Joy Polstra, Ashley Purtee, Jordan Rhude, Susan Rhoads, Clyde Snow and Haley Werring; two-year contracts — Mary Lee Daugherty, Elizabeth Denton, Brett Prince, Mercedes Reese, Stephen Nartker and Stella Wardlow; three-year contracts — Jenna Allen, Paige Anderson, Abby Baker, Hannah Barnett, Danielle Bice, Rachel Bohrer, Melissa Boysel, Stacia Burke, Jordan Clark, Robyn Crusie, Rachel Davis, Kim Fouch, Trevor Gleadle, Todd Griffin, Pam Harp, Cody Mathews, Robert May, John O’Rourke, Nathan Rutledge, Megan Wagoner, Kristin Wait, Natasha Walker and Shannon Wright; continuing contacts — Nathan Horne, Amy Vance and Kristin Walker; supplemental — Sarah Albert (MS DC trip coordinator), Nathan Boatman (HS varsity boys golf head coach), Miles Burton (HS varsity boys basketball coach and open gym coordinator), Amy Captain (HS assistant football cheerleading coach), Nicole Dickey (HS Varsity volleyball head coach), Chad Fields (HS varsity girls basketball head coach and open gym coordinator), Nicholas Fite (equipment manager), Jacob Fouch (HS freshman boys basketball coach), Sawyer Hooper Knutsson (HS reserve girls basketball coach), Nathan Horne (HS assistant football coach), Carey Juillerat (MS girls basketball coach), Phil Loudin (HS assistant varsity boys basketball coach), Tayler Middleton (HS varsity football cheerleading coach), Amanda Miller (HS girls varsity soccer head coach), Catherine Moberly (site supervisor), Kara Moon (HS reserve volleyball coach), Thomas Oldham (MS football coach), John O’Rourke (HS varsity football head coach, weight room supervisor winter/spring), Ben Pence (HS assistant football coach), Kelly Perkins (MS girls volleyball coach), Mel Pitzer (site supervisor), Ashley Purtee (HS girls reserve soccer coach), Nathan Rutledge (MS girls basketball coach), Adam Schelling (HS boys varsity soccer head coach), Dan Snapp (HS boys varsity soccer assistant coach), Clyde Snow (HS reserve football coach, HS reserve boys basketball coach), Casey Sullen (MS football coach), Casey Taggert (MS girls volleyball coach), Larue Turner (HS girls tennis head coach), Jed Turpin (MS football coach), Maverick Ward (HS boys reserve soccer coach) and Kelsey West (HS volleyball volunteer); and summer food truck employees at $16 per hour: Anna Aber, Candy Cole, Kim Collins, Teresa Cox, Trevor Gleadle, Chad Haynie, Brandi Johnson, Ladonna Keplinger, Melissa Mahan, Betty McCoy, Melissa Miller, Brittany Oxley, Leonard Oxley, Brett Prince, Mathew Sexton, Robin Smith, Susan Smith, Terri Smith, Stephanie Thompson, Amy Vance and Julie Wertsbaugh. In a separate motion, with Lyons abstaining, Scott Haines was approved as HS assistant varsity girls basketball coach, and Darci Miles was approved for a three-year contract.

“It’s good to see the amount of staff we have participating, whether it be in the summer food trucks or supplementals,” Davis said. “We enjoy the support we’re getting from our staff members and our community.”

• The board approved a service agreement with Southern Ohio Educational Service Center for one year.

• The board passed a resolution for continued membership in the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

• The board approved the book “Exploring Life and Career,” Seventh Edition, by Martha Dunn-Strohecker and Deborah Tunstall Tippett for the high school family consumer science class.

• The board approved a revised salary schedule for the curriculum specialist.

“We’re just getting it back in line with the administrative schedule we have, for our hierarchy of the positions we have,” Davis said. “The days are the same, 205 days.”

• The board approved the following food service prices for the school year August 2021 to June 2022: adult lunch, $4; elementary student lunch, $2.25; high school/middle school student lunch, $2.50; and reduced lunch, $.40.

Teeters said that this is not a change in pricing, and although the federal government is continuing free meals for all students through the 2021-22 school year, Walker still “has to establish prices so that she can get federal funds.”

• The board approved to use Set Balance Year-End Program to set appropriations to expenditures.

Also during Monday’s meeting, the board heard a presentation on the summer food program. For more, see the story at: https://highlandcountypress.com/Content/In-The-News/In-The-News/Article/Hillsboro-City-Schools-adding-9-sites-1-vehicle-to-summer-meal-program/2/20/68785.