The Galion Board of Education held its monthly meeting on April 17. It first heard a presentation from sixth grader Garrett Murphy.
Murphy, who is a member of Boy Scout Troop 304, explained that $2,000 has been invested in his Eagle Scout project to build a shelter house on the school campus. He will now begin to raise funds for an additional $7,000. One idea he has is to hold a “dress down day” at school, in which students who want to wear casual clothes must pay.
Board members liked the idea and suggested offering it to teachers and staff as well, but it will need final approval from the building principals.
Superintendent Mark Stefanik noted the boy scouts completed a walking trail last year in the woods behind the primary and intermediate buildings. He said this is the next phase for the project, with at least two more projects planned.
Murphy wants to build a 16 x 24 foot shelter house by the trail entrance (behind the intermediate building). He has already worked with architect Bruce Heinlen on the site plans and submitted those plans to the city building inspector.
Murphy’s scout master added that Murphy would have help with the actual construction. They hope to have it finished by the end of summer, weather permitting.
Murphy asked for approval from the board to continue with the project. All Board members were favorable to the project and commended Murphy for his efforts so far.
After the discussion, the superintendent signed a form that gave the greenlight for the project.
In regular business Dr. Sandy Powell, director of curriculum, gave an update on the Race to the Top Grant. Galion is currently in year four of the grant program and was the only district in Crawford County to participate.
Ohio’s Race to the Top program has five metrics used to measure its success: Increase high school graduation rates by 0.5% for each of the four years of the grant, reduce graduation rate gaps by 50% between under-represented and majority students, reduce performance gaps by 50% of national and state-wide tests between under-represented and majority students, reduce the performance gaps by 50% on reading and mathematics proficiency between Ohio and the best-performing states, and more than double college enrollment for students age 19 and younger.
In 2011, Galion received $70,771 from the state to start the program. The grant amount has increased each year; $80,827 was received for this school year. The reason the funding has increased is due to other districts dropping out. Over 200 public schools throughout the state still participate in the program, in addition to dozens of community schools and one STEM school.
Powell noted Race to the Top was the seed money for the One-to-One Technology Program. While it has required a lot of extra work for the staff, Powell stated: “We learned a lot and have more field testing to do. But I think Galion is really ahead of the curve in this region.”
The initiative is especially important now that all state standardized testing will eventually be done entirely online. Earlier in the spring, Galion participated in the state’s ten-question pilot of the new online testing system. (Student test scores did not count.) Powell said some of the questions were extended response, and she found that the district may need to start keyboarding classes sooner, because many of the younger students struggled to use the keyboards.
Galion is eligible for a grant extension, based on its continued success with Race to the Top.
The Board accepted the retirement resignation of Andy Johnson, principal at Galion Middle School, effective on or before Oct. 31, 2014. Johnson has been principal for 18 years. Stefanik said he had some days left in his contract that went into next school year. While they will hire a replacement over the summer, Johnson will stay on to help with the transition.
Bruce Miller was approved as a substitute custodian, substitute maintenance worker and substitute crossing guard. Danya Wilson was approved as an administrative secretary substitute. Jerry McElhatten was approved as a volunteer softball coach.
The Board approved the following contracts that evening.
- An amended contract with North Central Ohio Educational Service Center. Treasurer Terri Day explained the payment amount is estimated at the beginning of the year and gets adjusted later for the actual amount, which is $252,636.
- A contract with ESchoolView for Instant Connect, a district-wide notification system. It replaces the current system.
- An amended contract with Mid Ohio Educational Service Center, to adjust the payment. The amount was $364,377. Psychologist services were added to the contract.
- An agreement with Esber Cash Register to supply equipment, training and support that will enable credit card payments at each building, receipt printing and automatic posting to State Accounting Software. This will allow the school offices, food service and central office to be more efficient and cost effective.
- An addendum to the contract with Mid-American Therapy to allow for additional hours for athletic training. Day said an additional 34 hours were used during football season. MAT is splitting the cost of the additional hours.
The list of the 2014 high school graduates was also approved, contingent upon successful completion of graduation requirements. There are 148 students in the class.
Following meeting business the Board entered executive session to consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion or compensation of a public employee. No further action was taken.
Galion Board of Education’s next regular meeting is May 15 at 6:30 p.m., in the Middle School computer lab. The five-year forecast will be presented during the meeting.