By: Amy Wendt
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
On November 20, the Pettisville Board of Education met in the school conference room for its Regular November meeting.
Board Members Brent Hoylman, Scott Rupp, Brent King, Justin Rufenacht, and Pam Skates were present. Superintendent Josh Clark and Elementary Principal Jason Waldvogel were also in attendance while Treasurer Chris Lee attended by video.
Opening the meeting, the Board extended a warm welcome to bus driver Kelly McDermott, whose prompt actions during the two-vehicle accident with Bus 4 on the morning of Friday, October 13, ensured the safety of six Pettisville students of the junior and senior classes who were en route to Four County.
Superintendent Clark set the scene by noting “October 13th – Friday the 13th, the morning of – was a scary morning here. I can’t imagine for Kelly how much more scary it was being a part of that early morning accident.”
“You know – the amazing thing – and I’ve told the board already – the amazing thing is what Kelly was able to do during that accident and all the hazards she was able to avoid due to her training and her poise.”
“We have the on-cam video of the accident and I’ve watched it probably 10 times and you get chills every time you watch it when you think about what could have happened but also as you watch Kelly expertly keep our kids safe.”
“There’s a lot that could have gone wrong at that accident. Her rearview mirror – side mirror clipped a telephone pole. She could have rolled and she could have hit that pole and those wires could have come down on the bus and none of those things happened – because she kept our kids safe.”
“And I – one of the coolest things to see on the onboard camera was just how – in the span of I believe it was four seconds – you had three different things going on at once.”
“You were making sure the kids were ok. You’re calling in to dispatch. And you’re making sure that a student doesn’t exit the bus – in a span of four seconds. That is incredible.”
“You know, when you talk to Kelly she strongly believes she was being watched over that day – I believe so as well. But we can’t downplay or thank you enough for what you did that morning to keep our kids safe.”
“So I want to say on behalf of the Board – I want to say a huge thank you and I’m glad you came out (to the meeting) and we owe you a huge debt of gratitude.”
“I also want to say for those kids on that bus, you know – you see sometimes during adversity – you see, you know – some really incredible things come out in character building. Things come out of people when they’re under duress. Those kids were phenomenal.”
“Quite literally picking each other up off the ground, making sure each other were okay before making sure they themselves were okay. We had one student who rushed immediately to the front of the bus – the one who Kelly had to keep in the bus – asking if Kelly was okay right away, and then was very concerned about the driver of the other car.”
“I think overall – and we have some really great kids here. We have some really great leaders and bus drivers. And just a huge thank you for keeping everybody safe. So, thank you so much.”
“A lot to be thankful for from that morning – for sure,” Mrs. McDermott responded.
Later in his report, Superintendent Clark also thanked the Pettisville School Bus Coordinator Deb Graber and Eric Rychner from the Pettisville Garage for their quick thinking and actions taken as the emergency situation unfolded.
Board members then took the opportunity to extend their appreciation to Mrs. McDermott for ensuring the well-being of her passengers.
Getting down to regular business in the agenda, the Board approved the minutes from the October 2023 meeting, accepted the financial reports as presented by the treasurer, and okayed the payment of bills as submitted.
In personnel matters, contracts were approved for AD Mendoza as Summer Recreation Softball Programmer, Dylan Leu as Summer Recreation Baseball Programmer, Kendra Stahl as Resident Educator Mentor, Andy Switzer as Resident Educator Mentor, Nate Kester-Resident Educator Mentor, Jadea Wixom as Resident Educator Mentor and Dylan Leu as Long-Term Aide Substitute.
Also approved was the lateral movement of Nate Kester on the salary schedule from bachelor’s degree plus 150 to master’s pay grade while Spanish students and chaperones received the green light for an overnight trip to Costa Rica tentatively scheduled for spring break, 2025.
Jason Waldvogel, Elementary Principal shared the elementary report highlighting Parent-Teacher conferences, the Costume Parade, and 3rd grade testing noting results are expected within the next month.
He also noted that the holiday concert is coming up and Santa is expected to visit the school on the last day before Christmas break.
In Principal Adam Wagner’s absence, Superintendent Clark read the Junior High/High School report sharing information about the College Credit Plus program, National Honor Society, and Junior Class Job Shadow Day.
Clark took the opportunity to thank Mr. Wagner for coordinating another successful Veterans Day Program noting that Pettisville’s School Resource Officer, Deputy Steve Schlosser, who is also a Marine Veteran, was the featured speaker.
In his superintendent report, Clark updated the Board on the lighting initiative noting that they are almost finished with the project.
In the board report, Pam Skates shared that she appreciated the opportunity to attend the conference for a chance to talk with board members from other districts and to participate in informational packed seminars.
Treasurer Chris Lee delivered his report over video conference noting that according to the October Income Tax settlement, receipts were up only 1 percent compared to the same time last year, yet overall, the district is still up 5 percent for the fiscal year to date compared to 2022.
Lee also provided the Board with the latest five-year forecast noting that in real estate tax revenue, historical data was used.
Lee went on to share that without revaluation data from the county auditor, he is unable to make educated projections on how that will impact the district’s income and that particular line item will likely see a change once that data is received. Lee also added he is also seeing continued growth in income tax which is reflected in the report.
“The theme for revenues is that I am projecting for amounts that are known and I’m being conservative in areas that are unknown,” Lee explained.
As for expenditures, Lee noted that he based salary increases for years following 2023 on steps only. Future health insurance increases are based on 8% rather than the uncharacteristically low health insurance premium increase of 4% that the district experienced this year.
“The results of the forecast are that we will remain in the black for the first three years of the forecast and will be in a cash deficit situation in the last two years,” Lee concluded.
The Board approved the five-year forecast as presented and authorized its submission to the State of Ohio.
With no further business, the meeting was adjourned. The next Pettisville Board of Education meeting is slated for Monday, December 11 at 7:00 p.m.