The Rolling Hills Board of Education tackled a busy agenda Wednesday, wrapping up the school year, and preparing for the next.
The board approved over three dozen personnel items, including certified and classified staff, along with substitutes and two new MHS teachers. The new hires include, Jared Cullen (Math) and Jamie Taylor (English). A number of athletic related contracts were approved for: Keith Arnold (head boys basketball coach), Jill Beskid (head girls basketball coach), Bryan Conlon (head baseball coach), Bridget George (head softball coach), Mel Pesuit (head golf coach), Kelly Zehnder (head volleyball coach) and John Epperson (head boys & girls track coach). A motion to approve a contract for Chris Stoney for student monitor and substitute secretary died without action due the lack of a second. The board also approved the resignation due to retirement for Brian Secrest and Yvette Nau.
Also during the personnel items the board approved a reduction in force measure. This was for the following positions: athletic secretary, athletic director (as a supplemental position), an industrial technology teaching position at MMS, and one teaching position in each grade level first through fifth.
Superintendent Ryan Caldwell stressed that while this appears that positions were cut, no jobs were lost. The cuts were retirements which were not filled. Caldwell stressed that due to redistricting, the district will still be able to provide a quality education.
During the Race to the Top update, it was reported that the district, along with the East Guernsey School District and Crossroads Public Library, a grant in the amount of $127,500 was awarded. The Early Literacy Grant was written for the amount of $250,000 but was partially awarded.
It was noted that a number of districts across the state have dropped out of the Race to the Top program, this has resulted in the Rolling Hills District receiving an additional $2,000 up to this point. Also the district received another grant through the Teacher Incentive Program (TIF) on Assessment Literacy for approximately $21,000. The funds will be used to send six teachers and administrators to lead professional development work next year.
During the financial report, Treasurer Kandi Fuller reported that the since the October version of the financial forecast, the district has seen a positive "swing" of approximately $2.5 million. She says the change is due partially to increased revenues from various sources and the redistricting plan. Fuller says that the redistribution of students looks to save the district around $400,000 annually.
While the revenue side looks promising, the district is predicted to enter into deficit spending as early as next year, and it looks to be FY17 when a negative cash balance occurs.
In other matters, the board accepted a donation of $1,000 to the MHS math and science department from AMG Vanadium.
Jeff Wheeler ask the board to consider bringing back Sunday athletic practices. According to the new Athletic Administrator (formally the Athletic Director) a number of athletes, specifically the cheerleading squad and volleyball teams were struggling to meet and practice under the current plan.
The matter was taken under advisement, and no action was taken Wednesday.
Wheeler also asked to modify the Facility Usage request form. This is filled out when a coach wishes to use one of the schools for practices and the like. Changes include to develop a master calendar with practice schedule, and make it available on-line and including the AD on the form distribution.
Also approved was a list of approximately 160 seniors, representing the Meadowbrook High School class of 2013. Graduation exercises are this Sunday at 3 pm.
Continuing to prepare for the upcoming school year, newly revised bus routes for the 2013-14 school year was distributed to the board for review. It's planned to place the routes on the district's website soon.
At the conclusion of Wednesday night's meeting, each building principal was presented with a photo of the newly renovated MHS football field on opening night of August 24, 2012. The impressive photos will be hung in each building.