“IF YOU WANT IT, IT’S AVAILABLE” … Montpelier School Superintendent Dr. Jamison Grime discusses COVID vaccines for school staff at the January 12 Board of Education meeting. (PHOTO BY TIMOTHY KAYS, STAFF)
By: Tim Kays
Nate Rose was elected to take over for Jeremy Clinger as the President of the Montpelier Board of Education at the reorganizational meeting of the Board on the afternoon of January 12.
Shawn Owen will take over the office of Vice-President, and continue as the Legislative Liaison. Kim Friend will continue as Student Achievement Liaison, and Owen and Clinger will take seats on the Finance Committee.
The Board elected to continue with its regular meeting dates of the second Tuesday of each month, with the exceptions of June 22 and November 16. The Board also elected to change the meeting start times from 5:00 to 5:30.
With the adjournment of the reorganizational meeting, the regular session opened with COVID news.
“We’re kind of focusing in on right now vaccines for staff,” said District Superintendent Dr. Jamison Grime, “…but we haven’t been given any information on that yet. So we’re kind of hoping that here in the next week or two we’ll know more, but I’m not real sure what’s going on with that.”
Dr. Grime spoke on the paperwork required from superintendents by the Ohio Department of Health in order to obtain the COVID-19 vaccines. Mr. Owen asked, “Did we have to ask the staff at all if they were going to take…a survey or anything like that?”
“They wanted us to give estimates,” Dr. Grime replied. “I estimated that 80% would get it, but once again it is not mandatory for you staff members to get the vaccine. If you want it, it’s available. If not, this is still America; you do have a choice.”
“My only concern with that would be, I don’t think it’s going to be, if you don’t get it, you’re going to have to go back to the end of the line. You’re not going to have access once a week to get it, so if you do want one, probably jump on it right away.”
Elementary Principal Lance Thorp reported that the Northwest Ohio Education Service Center (ESC) has, on very short notice, reinstated the Williams County Spelling Bee on January 27 at 6:30.
“We got an email yesterday, mid-morning, and they have a plan to host it now at Stryker, with some of the changes with the face mask and quarantine rules. Stryker is going to go ahead and host this, and the catch to it is we have to provide names…our winner and our runner up by this coming Tuesday, a week from today. And everybody’s in the same boat.
“So Mrs. (Su) Thorp (High School Principal) and I talked with Mrs. (Amy) Scott who runs our spelling bee for us. Basically what we’re going to do is, any kid who wants to participate, fifth through eighth grade…we sent forms home. They can sign up for it. And then Friday, we’re going to call them down here (the Auditeria).”
“We’re going to use the Plexiglas. We’re not sure how many kids that would be. So it’ll be a little bit different than normal, but at least if a kid wants an opportunity to win the Spelling Bee, they’re going to have it. And then we’ll go until we get to the final two. As kids are eliminated, we’ll just have them go back to class.”
“So it’s kind of a minimally invasive plan, but it’s a plan that gives everybody a chance none the less. Of course whoever does win, whoever’s runner up, we’ll share all that information. Their parents will know what’s going on. So we’re trying fit that all in, and I think it’ll work.”
District Treasurer Carla Rice reported, “We received our BWC (Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation) dividend check in December. This was a rather large one; we received $64,779.29. That was a nice add to the revenues for this year.”
“The Medicaid audit for fiscal year 2019 was completed, and the District will be receiving a settlement of $61,683 for that one. This payment usually will come in sometime in May, or early June.”
Rice also reported on the financial impact that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) had on the District. “The FFCRA leave for COVID…related quarantines and illnesses, cost the District this year $67,418 so far in salaries that we’re paying out.”
“This involves 43 employees right now that were affected by the quarantine order, or quarantined for illness. The FFCRA law did expire on December 31…but I heard at a meeting today one of the attorneys commented that he’s speculating that this potentially could be extended to June 30, 2021. We’ll know more after the inauguration and the new president gets into office.”
The Board approved the financial reports for the month, including donations of $1,633.35 from the First United Methodist Church to the Nurse’s fund, and donations from the Athletic Boosters to the Cheerleading fund ($700.00), the Wrestling fund ($700.00), the Girls Basketball fund ($800.00), and the Boys Basketball fund ($1,150.00).
The Board extended supplemental contracts for the 2020-2021 school year to Andrew Robinson as head softball coach, Toby Hutchison as head baseball coach, and Troy Roth as head track coach.
The Board also approved the retirement resignations of Joseph Blake and Troy Roth at the end of the 2021 school year. The Board also agreed to pay Amy Scott the tutor rate of $21.00 per hour to coach the Spelling Bee, as agreed per discussions with MEA.
Dr. Grime made clear, “A supplemental contract was not issued due to the Spelling Bee time commitment being reduced due to COVID. This does not set a precedent.”
The Board moved to approve the Revised Foundation Deduction Agreement with the ESC to increase the estimated services cost foundation deduction to $362,545.39 for fiscal year 2021. “The ESC,” Dr. Grime explained, “…they take care of most of our special ed needs, along with a lot of our alternative services.”
“Occupational therapy, preschool, we have kids that go to the Independence Education Center. It’s a lot of the things that we just couldn’t pick up here. What’s happened is that you take the Independence Education Center, for example”
“They have a certain amount of costs because they have X-amount of teachers, and how much we pay per kid is dependent on how many kids are actually there.”
“So with COVID and kids going homeschooling or going online, they saw a decrease in enrollment. When their enrollment decreases, it makes the average cost of every kid that goes out there increases.”
In annual housekeeping actions, the Board moved to approve the annual membership dues of $4,374 with the Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) for 2021, and $150 for the electronic subscription to School Management News. The Board also approved the membership to the OSBA Legal Assistance Fund Consultant Service for 2021 at $250.00.
Prior to adjourning into executive session for the discussion of employee matters, the Board consented to the MHS girls wrestling trip to attend the West Union High School Tournament January 29 and 30.
Tim can be reached at email@example.com