Galion BOE approved refinancing of bonds
By Matt Echelberry
The Galion Board of Education voted to refinance two series of bonds during its March 20 meeting. These bonds from the Ohio School Facilities Commission, issued in 2004 and 2006, funded the construction of the current school buildings.
John Payne, a financial consultant from Bradley Payne Advisor Group, was present that evening to advise the Board and answer questions. He explained that the waiting period for refinancing the 2004 bonds is almost over. (The waiting period for the 2006 series is not up until 2016.) If Board members gave authorization for the process to move forward, then preparation of legal documents and district information would begin. The district would not be obligated to act on refinancing when the waiting period ends.
Payne estimated the current interest rates on the bonds of 4.5 and 4.85 percent would be reduced to 3.35 and 3.15 percent, respectively. The new interest rate for the 2004 series would be a savings of an estimated $1.6 million, or 12 percent.
Treasurer Terri Day emphasized that the refinancing would not be a savings to the district, but to the taxpayers, thus keep more money in the community (rather than paying off the bonds at the current rate).
In addition to the resolution for approving the refinancing process, the Board approved two other resolutions in response to Governor Kasich’s proposed biennial budget (House Bill 59). The first resolution opposed increasing publicly-funded vouchers for private and parochial schools, which would reduce funds for public schools.
The other resolution was in opposition to the $15.3 million in reductions to Education Service Centers because ESC’s are “a vital link and partner in the primary and secondary educational process, providing a range of services to their member school districts, including curriculum development, professional development, technology assistance, administrative and supervisory services, preschool and special education programs, and specialist staffing and support services for at-risk youth.”
That evening, the Board recognized Galion High School students who were regional winners for the 2013 Governor’s Art Exhibition: Dominic Erlsten, Zachary James, Macy Johnson, Searah Melvin, Eric Powell and Austin Prosser.
Several students athletes were also recognized, including wrestlers Nicholas Flowers, Mason Fry, Deaken McCoy and Zachary Tupps (who placed 4th in the State tournament). Four members of the Boys Swim Team qualified for District competition: Connor Kempf, Zane Ekin, Chad Karnes, and Sam DeNero; and five members of the Girls Swim Team qualified for Districts: Rebecca Rigdon, Kristen Benedict, Caroline Shifley, Kennedy Gregg, and Samantha Altstadt.
Board Vice President Jennifer Kuns reported on student achievement, particularly statistics for high school students in post-secondary enrollment. Seventeen juniors and seniors currently attend classes OSU-Mansfield or North Central State College, one student is in the senior to sophomore program and NCSC, seven are in the College Now Program at the Kehoe Center (these students will have a two year associate degree in engineering when they graduate high school) and 25 students have dual enrollment in advanced math and calculus courses, offered through NCSC.
Director of Curriculum Dr. Sandy Powell informed the Board that there will be a training day on March 22 for developing student learning objectives, in preparation of the new evaluation system being implemented next school year.
In superintendent updates, Dr. Kathy Jenney stated that administration is continuing with the campaign for the tax levy. The schools will soon have special visitation times for the community to see how the One-to-One Program is being utilized and other exciting things happening in classrooms. Details forthcoming.
The district will conduct civil service testing for custodians at the end of April. This is the first time the test has been given since 2008. Lastly, Jenney congratulated the Food Service Department for passing the Ohio Department of Education’s review with full compliance.
In personnel recommendations, the Board approved the resignation of Middle School teacher Ryan Tanner, effective immediately.
Jon Stinehour was approved to serve as the Dean of Students at Galion High School for the remainder of the 2012–2013 school year. Jenney noted this is not a long-term position, Stinehour will fill the position until a new Assistant Principal/Athletic Director is hired. Later in the meeting, the Board approved a second reading for the job description for that position; the final reading will take place at the April meeting.
The following were approved under the retire-rehire plan for one-year contracts: Joylyn Finch, Dennise Holtzapfel, D. Melinda Nicholls and Richard Predmore. Michelle Harmon and Katelyn Hurley were approved as fall and winter cheerleading advisors.
An agreement with DT Petroleum was tabled for the next meeting. It was for a five year lease-to-own arrangement for diesel fuel tanks, in order to save on fuel costs of the buses. Board members were concerned about the uncertainty of state regulations and did not want to act immediately.
With no further business, the Board entered executive session to consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion or compensation of a public employee with no further action to be taken.
The next meeting is April 17 at 6:30 p.m., at the Middle School computer lab.