FIELD TRIPS … Montpelier Board of Education discusses many upcoming field trips for both the Elementary and High School. (PHOTO BY LINDSAY PHILLIPS, STAFF)
By: Lindsay Phillips
Montpelier Board of Education began their regular meeting on September 13 at 5:30 p.m. in the choir room. The meeting was called to order followed by a moment of silence and the Pledge of Allegiance.
As first order of business, a Public Hearing of the 2023-2024 school calendar was had, this was to allow the calendar to be accepted before the end of the current calendar year.
As the board opened the floor up for public participation, Kaylee Fortney came forward to speak on behalf of her termination.
Fortney stated, “I was hired to start the Cross Categorial Unit in Montpelier nine years ago, since then, I have become really invested with the kids and families I work with, in this classroom it’s a little different than most because I work with students some starting in kindergarten all the way through third grade.”
“These are strong bonds and huge growth I’ve made with many of my kids.” Fortney went on to add, “I come today to address the Montpelier Board of Education members and ask you ‘Are you aware of my letter of resignation that was submitted last month on August 3?”
Fortney presented a timeline of her new position process, stating she submitted the resignation after the interview.
She shared, “Following the submission of the letter, I was immediately contacted by Mr. Thorp via text message, and via email by Dr. Grime.”
“Mr. Thorp asked that I call Dr. Grime which I did that night. In the phone call with Dr. Grime, he stated, and I quote ‘Kaylee in a situation like this where working with me is better for you than working against me.”
She went on to add, “I went on to tell Dr. Grime I had found a position at Edgerton that was better for me, and my family and I was going to take it. Prompting my reason for resigning at Montpelier.”
“At the end of the phone call, he told me ‘Well I’m not going to make a decision one way or another right now, I’m going to contact someone at Edgerton and find out what’s going on.”
Mrs. Fortney shared her next contact with Dr. Jamison Grime came through the mail a month later, dated September 6, stating that the board would start the termination proceeding at the meeting with the reason of termination being job abandonment.
Fortney stated, “Abandonment is the last word I would describe for my reason of leaving, it is just a bad case of timing. Would I have liked for this job to be posted earlier in July?”
“Absolutely, but that was not the situation I was given. Yes, more time would have been more ideal for everyone involved, but I did my best to give as much notice as possible.”
Fortney explained to the board multiple personal reasons as to why the new position will benefit her and her family best and asked that her resignation be accepted rather than terminated.
Hearing no other public participation, the board moved to hear an Legislative Report from Mrs. Patti Rockey.
The recently enacted House Bill 110 removes the term “Public Schools” on the list of entities allowed to conduct charitable raffles.
Rockey stated, “We’re going to want to be careful with that kind of stuff, and make sure we have got the Athletic Boosters and what not handling those kinds of things.”
Elementary Principal, Lance Thorp began his report by sharing the biggest issue right now is not having a enough extra staff to call upon when substitutes are needed.
Thorp shared, “The substitute list we have is almost nonexistent, we do have our district subs and they’ve been super helpful, but days like today we needed ten subs and we only have the five that come in every day.”
Thorp expressed his gratitude toward the people who have stepped up and helped.
A Too Good For Drugs program has kicked off in the Elementary, along with the PBIS classroom lessons.
Sports including cross country, fifth and sixth grade tackle bar football, and volleyball have made their way down to the elementary this year.
Montpelier High School held Spirit Week September 12 through September 16, Elementary students were able to join in and participate in it as well.
Also in the works for the elementary are field trips to the fair, and Soil Day at the Park, and Leaders Farms.
High School Principal, Su Thorp addressed council first by sharing attendance numbers are down for this time of year.
Mrs. Thorp added to Mr. Thorps concern with the lack of staffing numbers for substitutes. Mrs. Thorp stated, “I want to give a shoutout to our teachers, because they have been dealing with not having bells or a PA System.” The school is making progress in working to fix the notification system.
Dawn Smith’s Social Studies class went to the fair on September 13 to help older citizens from various Senior Centers get around to enjoy the Williams County Fair.
About forty students went and were pared up with the seniors. Multiple Senior Living Facilities reached out to the school and shared the students did an excellent job.
The high school are currently honoring Suicide Awareness month by passing out yellow ribbons, and cards, and information with numbers for those in need.
Five high school students have had job placements, which will be required to complete an Ohio Means Jobs seals and this will be one of those seals.
A group of students will attend the Northwest State Community Job Fair and have an opportunity to turn in resumes and talk to employers on October 7.
Another item on the high school report was to address picture retake day which will take place October 12.
Treasurer Carla Rice wanted to remind the community that the school is now charging for school lunches.
Rice stated, “It’s not free and everybody needs to pay, some have negative balances. We need to start reminding people get their money in to keep up with that.”
A motion to waive the reading of the minutes and approve the minutes from the regular monthly meeting of August 9, 2022 as presented was moved by Mr. Rose and seconded by Mrs. Gambler.
Financial reports from the month of August were accepted by the board. A list of staff members to be compensated as PBIS members at twenty-one dollars for the 2022-2023 school year was approved.
After discussion with the board and Mrs. Kaylee Fortney, the board approved the resolution initiating the termination of an employee contract for Mrs. Kaylee Fortney pursuant of the Ohio Revised Code 3319.16 for failure to report to work on August 15, 2022 and for continually failing to report constituting job abandonment and neglect of duty.
For employment matters, two bus driver resignations for Courtney Bice and Linda Cummings were approved along with adding Laura Hutchingson to the cafeteria substitute list.
Montpelier Schools will be going with Beilharz Architects Incorporated to provide services for the Fitness Center Addition to the Recreation Center and terminating the previous contract with Chris Kannel.
A cooperative agreement between the school and Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission to provide services for preschool children for the current school year was accepted.
With no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 6:13 p.m.
Lindsay can be reached at email@example.com