Hilltop Superintendant Dr. Bob Smith Resigns; School Board Approves SRO Agreement

By: Chelsie Firestone

Upon submission of his letter giving the board six months notice of his intent to retire, the Millcreek-West Unity Board of Education approved the resignation of superintendant Dr. Bob Smith Monday evening during their regular monthly meeting. The resignation of Dr. Smith will become effective July 31, 2013 and at that time Dr. Smith will have served the school district for three years. In his letter to the board, Dr. Smith expressed that “I’ve worked with a great board of education; a great group of people that make up this staff; a community that immediately made Melanie and I feel right at home (but) the time is right.”

“You all have been a great school district and I was proud to be a small part of it.”

Dr. Smith’s letter also informed the Board that following his resignation he plans to continue his association with the University of Dayton and to forwarding work to improve and revamp public school funding.

The Board will be accepting resumes for those interested in filling the vacancy of the position through March 8 and will then review potential candidates at their March 18 meeting.

The SRO agreement between the school district and West Unity Village Council was also approved Monday evening and will be put before the Council on Thursday February 14 at their regular meeting. The agreement covers February 19 through June 2 of this year and has a total cost of $10,873.88, which includes wages and all benefits for the officer. There is some chance that this fee could be offset by grant money the school can apply for with the State Attorney General.

The passing of the agreement, which would put a police officer in the school building, was also given support by Williams County Sherriff Steve Towns. Towns explained that he believes both the Board and Council are doing the right thing to ensure school safety and that his office will be working with every district in the county to provide additional resources and support as districts work to address safety concerns.

Regular business conducted during the meeting included the approval of all financial statements for January 2013, the approval of the contract with the N.W. Ohio Education Service Center for the 2013-2014 school year, and the approval of the annual membership with Ohio School Boards Association for 2013.

Several employments were also approved during the meeting. These include Linnea Arps (substitute teacher), Toni Callan (substitute teacher), Laurin Waidelich (substitute teacher), Stan Schmidt (Girls Basketball Volunteer Coach), Tony Gerig (Head Baseball Coach), Chris Richer (JV Baseball Coach), Paul Kyser (Head Track Coach), Kiel Miller (Assistant Track Coach), Ken Brown (Junior High Track Coach), Jaymes Zachrich (Junior High Track Coach), Laurie Pointer (bus driver) and Abbie Sanders (transportation).

Several reports were also given during the meeting. Tony Gerig addressed the Board and reported on the initial estimates of replacing both the home and visiting bleachers at the football field. Gerig also addressed concerns with concessions and restrooms related to both softball and baseball games as well as a concern with improper drainage on the baseball field which might be the result of a broken or improperly installed tile.

Interim High School Principal Larry Long reported on additional post-secondary options that are becoming available through Project Jump Start. The post-secondary program made available through Northwest State Community College offers different opportunities to high school students wishing to obtain college credit. Students may soon be able to obtain such credit through on-line courses made available through the college or by taking classes during the regular school day that are in line with the classes offered at the college.

Elementary Principal Laura Springer reported on several areas including the overall progress of the elementary students as well as on statistics recently gathered on bullying within the school. Springer noted that the final statistics have not yet been calculated but are enlightening and beneficial in understanding the dynamics between students that faculty and staff might have been previously unaware of.

Superintendant Dr. Bob Smith reported on concerns with Governor Kasich’s proposed school funding plan. Dr. Smith noted that none of the poorest schools in Ohio will receive additional funds through the plan and explained that, while Hilltop would see a small increase in the amount of funds received under Kasich’s plan, these funds would not be enough to offset the steep cuts that the district has already undergone.

The Board went into executive session at the end of the open meeting to discuss pending litigation and personnel. No further actions were taken.

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