LOGAN — The Logan-Hocking School District (LHSD) is waiting on the approval of the 2020 state budget to really know how the next five years of funding will look like for the district. In the meantime, a plan must be put together and approved by the Board of Education (BOE), anticipating revenue and expenditures.
At the regular session meeting on Monday, LHSD Treasurer Paul Shaw, explained the local financial forecast that is a guestimate based on the suggested state budget that has yet to be passed.
Governor Mike Dewine’s priorities show up in the proposed budget that was released in March. It is heavily in support of investing in children, families and education by providing substantial funds for services such as mental health, mentoring and after-school programming.
On a local level, this could mean additional funding to support school programs, but the district can’t plan on specific dollar amounts until the budget passes.
“It’s an interesting one (the proposed state budget). There are a lot of unknowns. State funding is 60 percent of our operating budget. In 2020, concrete numbers will be known and until then we’ll continue to be frugal and resourceful,” Shaw said encouragingly.
Other information shared at the meeting covered many areas of action and discussion. Among them were: staff presentations, district awards, Chieftain Center progress, a Frontline computer program, valedictorian and salutatorian attainment, “random” and “draw the line” drug testing, a school improvement grant, a teacher academy, and athletic ticket prices.
Two new student representatives, Bryce Alford and Mathew Cobel, were welcomed to their first BOE meeting.
The Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) presented information on how their middle school team was successful in several competitions.
Superintendent Monte Bainter gave certificates to each student. Receiving awards were: Archer Phillips, Hannah Marcum, Sarah Leon, Tamera Colson, Kayle Bond, Megan Karns, and Elizabeth Long.
The Logan-Hocking Middle School FCCLA won the National Power-of-One Student Achievement Award in addition to various state awards. The middle school students put in 800 hours of community service work.
Erica Brown, FCCLA Adviser, shared information about the high school accomplishments. She gave an example of a community service that the group participates in daily, if they choose. The Logan-Hocking High School Clothing Closet is a boutique style area in the school, where students in need of newer clothing can get them for free.
Cassie McGowan, LHSD Food Service Director, reported to the BOE about winning an award as only one of 11 schools to be chosen out of 600 in the state. Due to the success of the free breakfast and lunch for all students, increased participation by students and the district’s commitment to be sure students are fed properly, the high school will see a “Grab and Go” style breakfast available at the start of this school year.
“The ultimate goal is to feed our kids,” Superintendent Bainter interjected while congratulating the food service department. They are now awaiting a Platinum Award for the substantial increase in participation rates.
A new policy on release time for religious reasons is being included in the updated policy manual as a result of a requirement for all Ohio districts. The policy will be included in the 2019 school year handbooks to allow students excused time if within the parameters of the policy.
Construction on the Chieftain Center continues. Flooring is currently being waited on to arrive from Taiwan.
“We’ve stayed as local as possible, but the flooring needed was not available. We did stay local with windows and doors,” commented Superintendent Bainter. Installation of the flooring will be local, according to Treasurer Shaw.
Some of the staff will be learning to use a new software program called Frontline. It is intended to eliminate paper timecards and to assist with other human resource responsibilities.
The class of 2021 could see discussion from the BOE about the process used to determine who will speak at the LHSD graduation ceremony. Schools around the state have been looking at the traditional appointment of valedictorian and salutatorian processes. There are different ways to calculate and recognize the top performing students in academics.
Student representative, Mathew Cobel, explained what he believed most students would be in favor of.
He shared that the students who are very competitive down to the tenth of a point should all have a chance to speak at graduation. Instead of the traditional allotment of time for only the valedictorian and salutatorian, this newer concept would open the stage to additional students.
Drug testing for athletes was a topic for discussion that will continue after additional information is obtained. Superintendent Bainter would like to extend the testing from just random, to a “draw the line,” style, in which student athletes and possibly any student who participates in co-curricular areas would be tested at the start of a season and could still be pulled for random throughout the season.
Additional information about the anonymity of results and the input of parents, and including groups such as choir and band were among the discussion.
Over the next two years, the teachers and district leadership teams will be supported by an outside agency in looking at their curriculum and teaching strategies. Grant funding has been provided by the School Improvement grant to cover the cost of the additional help.
A teacher academy for LHSD juniors and seniors is in the discussion phase. Preliminary talks have been in place to provide a two-year program for students who would like to learn about becoming a teacher. The program would allow them to learn in the first year and then be placed in one of the elementary schools to intern in the second year.
There will be no increase in the athletic ticket prices for the upcoming year.
The meeting ended in executive session, with no action to be taken following. In July there will be no regular session BOE meeting due to summer recess.