OCTOBER RECOGNITION … These students were presented at the November 8, 2022 Montpelier School Board meeting, for their families to hear the letters written by their teachers, nominating them for Student of the Month for October. They were each given a Locos cap by Superintendent Jamison Grime. Front row left to right are Kindergartner Bayne Overmyer, First Grader Karter Smith, Second grader Eli Tressler and Third Grader Bailey Shankster. (2nd grader Payten Cassabon was not present) Back row, left to right, are Fourth grader Maci Thomas, Fifth grader LoDena Woods, Sixth grader Nash Miller, Seventh grader Genevieve Repp and Eight grader Braylon Hopper. (PHOTOS BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
As schools across Northwest Ohio are welcoming canine staff members, Montpelier Elementary School Principal, Mr. Lance Thorp, was very happy to announce at the November 8, 2022 school board meeting, that they will be welcoming Roger, a two-year-old black lab, to their staff in January.
Miss Kendra Michaelis will be his handler and he will live in her home and come to school each day with her.
Mr. Thorp shared that they received a midnight email a few weeks ago that told them that someone had dropped off the waiting list and bumped Montpelier schools up.
It said if they could make it happen, they could have a dog. Four people will attend a week-long training in December to be handlers, with Miss Michaelis being the main handler.
Roger has already been through all of his training at Tiffin Schools and is ready to go. He will be brought home after the training in December for Miss Michaelis to have time for them to be acquainted before school starts in January.
Thorp said Roger will probably spend most of his time in the elementary but they plan to get him involved in the high school as well.
All of the training has been provided by a grant through The Ability Center, and the cost of each dog being placed is around $25,000.
“This is a great thing, and if we do find out who the family is who made the donation, we want to give them some recognition and thanks,” he said at the end of his report.
The board meeting began with student recognition, following roll call and the Pledge of Allegiance.
The room was packed with parents and other family members of the students who were being honored by their teachers who had written letters praising them for their behavior and excellence.
Superintendent Jamison Grime gave each student a Loco cap as board member Dunne Gambler read their letters of commendation.
Also asked to come up for recognition, the Elementary Quiz Bowl team and their advisor Barb Turner were joyfully praised by Mr. Thorp for being the champions this year, the first time in 25 years that Montpelier has won the quiz bowl.
While the students went to the gym to get their picture taken, High School Principal Su Thorp began her report to the board.
Mrs. Thorp shared that both PBIS groups in JH and HS have been having assemblies to support their student behavior incentives that they put forth and the first winners of the first incentive, 44 students, were scheduled to attend the Walleyes game in Toledo on the ninth.
The E3 program is back in action this year and they have already had a full day for all three groups (Enroll, Employ, Enlist) to get started.
Four County had a representative at the school to talk about 10th graders going next year.
In the last couple weeks, the 7-12 building has started using a program called SmartPass and is electronically based.
This will allow the teachers to see the pass on their chromebook and will be a good help for safety.
The music preview for the Jazz Band Locomotion which was held on Sunday, November 6, went well but she felt there were not as many in attendance due to great weather.
They were raising funds for their trip to Nashville in March. She also reminded everyone that the annual Veteran’s Day Program was scheduled for Thursday, November 10 at 9 a.m. with community welcome.
There will be a three-day Thanksgiving Break, November 23-25, plus the weekend.
Mr. Thorp shared in his report, that 3rd -6th grade Grandparents Day was a great success as always.
More people come for that day than any other day in the school year, and they did the 5th grade musical for them that day.
The public performance was scheduled for the night of the board meeting. He mentioned that as fifth graders this is the first time the students get to choose to be a part of the musical as the other students are automatically all in it.
For Veteran’s Day, Kevin Motter was to receive the Hometown Hero Award. Other Events: Buddy Week and Book Fair – November 14-18; and Book Fair was going to be open for the Craft Show on Saturday as well; November 16th – Big Buddy’s Blood Drive; November 22nd – interim reports; 3rd grade musical public performance.
ELEMENTARY QUIZ BOWL CHAMPIONS … For the first time in 25 years, Montpelier Elementary 2022 Quiz Bowl team won First Place in the Williams County Elementary Quiz Bowl. Elementary Principal Lance Thorp was thrilled to present them at the November 8, 2022 Montpelier School Board meeting. From left to right, back row, are Nolan Gibbs, Tyce Fleurkens, Nash Miller and Advisor Barb Turner. Front row, left to right are Jayce Feeney holding the Trophy, Klayton Maugherman and Lilly Owen. (Seen in background are board member Dunne Gambler, HS Principal Su Thorp, and board members Patti Rockey and Shawn Owen.)
Treasurer Carla Rice gave a review of the five-year forecast which is due to the state by the end of November. In her report, she shared that Forecast 5, a group who assists with the preparation of the forecast, has been hired and will be helping in the future with “a web-based solution that includes comparisons to state wide averages and local averages.
This tool will allow different models to be generated depending on the factors included in the formula including modeling an increase or decrease in enrollment, local property values and local income.”
Some of the stats that are forecast over the next five years included:
- Revenue sources – revenue shortfall expected in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023; expenditures are expected to be greater than revenue by $1,088,355; By the last year of the forecast, FY 2017, the shortfall is expected to be $2,614,520 and the district would need to cut projected expenses by 17% in order to balance
- Expenditures included in the forecast include salary, benefits, purchased services, supplies and capital outlay
- Salaries and Benefits – projected to be 77.66% of the total expenditures.
- Purchased services – represent 15%; Supplies and materials – 4.4%; Capital outlay 1.5% and represents 50% of the total line-item cost of one-on one computers, which covers four class levels worth of computers each year.
- SUMMARY – the district’s cash balance is positive at year-end in FY2023 and is projected to worsen by FY2027 to a deficit balance of $1,090,024. A worsening cash balance can erode the district’s financial stability over time. Expenditures will need to be decreased over time in order to avoid the need for additional funding. As information changes, especially in the area of the state funding formula, the estimates will be updated.
- Rice added that she is looking forward to benefits of how Forecast 5 will be adding information as it happens, helping her to be able to stay on top of the budget.
Board members Patti Rockey and Shawn Owen made comments of their concern over the deficit spending.
Rockey asked if it might not be wise to “be proactive”, to spread the changes out over the five years instead of waiting until it is 17% in 2027.
Rice said that as people leave, or retire, they can choose not to rehire to fill those spots as the quickest way to “make a dent in that number.”
Mr. Grime said that two retirements next year will take off $750,000 off the five-year forecast. It was agreed that more than cutting employment will need to be looked at to bring this down.
Rice stated that hooking up with Forecast 5 will help them to stay on top of the recession facts as they happen.
Gambler agreed that staying on top of those facts should be very helpful and Owens asked if there are ways to know ahead and Grime said that a lot depends on the state and federal decisions.
They will know June 30th what the government has decided about funding. With student enrollment going down and property values going up, it catches up with them in a bad way.
Rice said she hopes legislators will “pay attention to the discussion and be supportive.”
In other business, the board voted to approve:
- board meeting minutes from October 11, 2022
- five-year forecast as presented and direction to send to Ohio Department of Education
- financial Reports for October
- accept with gratitude the following donations: $150 from Williams County Fair Board to band; $1,250 from Athletic Boosters, split as $50 to Senior Banner prize, $100 to Jr. banner prize, $75 to Sophomore banner prize, $25 to Freshman banner prize, and $1000 to Volleyball; $100 from Joseph Stefanelli to Cross Country; $425 from Memorial Donations for William Easley to Media Center; $50 from Bean Days Festival to Band; $1000 from NW Electric to Class of 2024 Prom; $476.05 from Montpelier Area Foundation to Bob Rose Fund Athletic Department; Services worth $372.50 to repair gym lighting by Owens Electric; Hand sanitizer, hand soap and graduation decorations from Family Dollar; and Equipment worth $24,500 from Winzeler Stamping Company to the Skills Trade Department.
- fund to fund advance from general to cafeteria in the amount of $30,000
- Increase in appropriations to the general fund in the amount of $50,000 for line item
- Supplemental contracts for 22-23 for Lance Thorp to be girls basketball coach and Jordan Birdsall to be assistant wrestling coach
- unpaid medical leave of absence for Alisha Birdsall beginning approximately January 9, 2023 for a period of ten weeks to return March 20, 2023. The leave will be unpaid once all of her accumulated sick and personal leave have been exhausted.
- supplemental contracts for 22-23 for Anthony Salazar and CJ Roth ½ each JH rrestling
- Volunteers for 22-23 Victoria Green-cheerleading, Seth Miller-volunteer JH boys basketball, and Sam Schroeder-wrestling
- Add Julie Garrow to Substitute Aide, cafeteria and custodian lists
Also approved, but not unanimously, following some discussion and concerns expressed by board members Dunne Gambler and Patti Rockey, was agenda 10.1 “Recommendation to approve the employment contract with Mrs. Carla Rice as the CFO/Treasurer for the district, as presented, for the period August 1, 2023 to July 31, 2026.”
Gambler and Rockey both stated that it is nothing personal, but they feel strongly that the contract should not have the wording in it, “if needed” attached to the number of working days.
Gambler said that it allows for employees to determine whether or not they are needed at their job or not.
She said that in no other working contracts would you see that language.
“I cannot support that language being in there,” Gambler said, adding, “In my opinion, it is inappropriate for us to have that that’s not normal for any other person who goes to work.”
“You are expected to come to work to do your job. With the school district you have the opportunity to tell us how much time it’s going to take for you to perform those job responsibilities.”
“That is not something that you get through any other employer. That’s a benefit that comes with the school.”
“If we are paying for 260 days to do those responsibilities, that is what we expect.”
She went on to say, “On top of that, if we have that flexibility, do we still need to give five weeks of vacation? If you don’t need 260 days to perform that job function, why would you need five weeks of vacation on top of it?”
She clarified again that this was not directed personally toward Rice, but that “in general it is inappropriate to have that in the public employment sector.”
“These are tax payer dollars that are being spent and it is our job to spend it appropriately and responsibly.”
Rockey said that she agreed with Gambler as this has been discussed for eleven months and she cannot support it either.
“It just comes down to tax payer dollars,” Rockey said. President Nate Rose asked if there was any other discussion and with none the vote was taken with Rose, Jeremy Clinger, and Shawn Owen voting in favor and Gambler and Rockey voting against “on the basis of ‘if needed’ being in with the working days”. The motion passed by a 3-2 vote.
Other business items approved were:
- support the acquisition of a School Facility Dog to act as a Therapy dog for the district. The dog will be acquired from The Ability Center at no cost to the district. Kendra Michaelis will be the dog’s handler and will have responsibility for taking care of the dog.
- trip to the 2022 State Volleyball Tournament in Fairborn, Ohio from November 10-12, 2022, funded by their fundraising
With no further business and no executive session needed, the meeting adjourned at 6:30 p.m.
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com