Mount Gilead Board of Education welcomes new board members

By Donna Carver

January 14, 2014

Mount Gilead Board of Education welcomed new board members to their first official school board meeting.

The January 2014 meeting of the Mount Gilead School Board began with the swearing in of re-elected board member Rhonda Graham and the two newly elected members, Joey Powell and Ed Kimmey.

Graham and Powell were sworn in by Treasurer Trevor Gummere. Graham is serving her third term on the school board. Kimmey was sworn in by local attorney Jenifer Burnaugh, who is a family friend and former student of Mr. Kimmey’s.

The first order of business for the board was the election of the board president and vice president. Nominations for president included current board president Jeff Sweeney and board member Rhonda Graham. Rhonda Graham was elected as the new school board president for the 2014 calendar year. Virgil Staley was nominated as vice president. No other nominations were offered and Virgil Staley was elected board vice president for the 2014 calendar year.

The board then appointed the following liaisons, Joey Powell, Legislative liaison, Virgil Staley was re-appointed as Student Achievement liaison, Ed Kimmey, Ohio School Board Association liaison and Rhonda Graham, Public Records liaison for the 2014 calendar year.

Superintendent Jeff Thompson recognized January as School Board Recognition Month. Thompson presented each member with a certificate of appreciation, “On behalf of superintendents across the state of Ohio we thank you for your efforts and service to your community.”

Technology coordinator Ryan Curtis advised the board that a signal strength survey is currently underway across the district. There is no cost for this survey, which is to help identify weak wireless signals in the district.

Treasurer Gummere shared that due to the inclement weather the financial reports were not yet available but will be completed soon and ready for the next meeting.

The board set the dates and times for Regular Meetings of the Board of Education as the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m., and all meetings be held at the office of the Board of Education.

The board approved the following employment: Melissa Barnhart, Home Instruction Tutor, Sondra Carey, Home Instruction Tutor. Also approved was the Transfer of Sick Leave, Ryan Curtis, 5 days to the account of Gretchen McElroy (A total of 25 days transferred to Gretchen McElroy after approval of this action.)

The board approved the overnighter for the Mt. Gilead Middle School students to participate in their Washington D.C. trip. The date of the trip will be Tuesday, October 28, 2014 through Friday, October 31, 2014.

The board approved the following Standing Authorizations for Calendar Year 2014: Authorization for the Treasurer to secure advances from the Auditor when funds are available and payable to our school district, and to grant advances and repayments to all funds when needed, authorization for the Treasurer to invest inactive funds at the most productive interest rate whenever inactive funds are available according to law, authorization for the Treasurer to pay all bills within the limits of the appropriations resolution as bills are received and when the merchandise has been received in good condition, authorization for the Assistant Treasurer, Payroll, to sign payroll checks in the event of the incapacity or absence of the Treasurer, authorization for the Treasurer to modify fiscal year appropriations as deemed necessary, authorization for the Superintendent to employ temporary personnel as needed. Such employment is to be presented for approval by the Board at the next regular meeting, authorization for the Superintendent to accept resignations of personnel on behalf of the Board of Education, authorization for the Superintendent and/or Treasurer/Director of Operations to serve as the purchasing agent for the school district for the 2014 calendar year, and authorization for the Superintendent to apply for any federal and state grants appropriate for the Mount Gilead School District.

Other board approvals included, Oracle for elevator service, a five year contract for River Benefits as health insurance agent/consultant and a contract with Dellicker Strategies, LLC to assess the district for the hybrid learning pilot program. This program is a relatively new, cutting edge hybrid learning program. Superintendent Thompson explained that it “melds together three learning modules designed to provide a deeper understanding of course content material resulting in improved student academic performance.” Thompson explained “among the 15 pilot programs 88 percent achieved higher academic performance in a hybrid classroom compared to traditional classes in the same district and on statewide benchmarks. 75 percent reported better academic achievement and all of them met or exceeded academic growth. Board vice president Virgil Staley commented “I think its a chance for us to really shine in the state, being a model school.”

Jeff Sweeney stated “It is a smart investment in doing what we do which is teaching children.”

The Music Boosters did not meet prior to the board meeting because of the weather. They will meet on the second Monday of the month at 7:00. The PTO is scheduled to meet the second Monday at Park Avenue Elementary Library at 5:30 p.m. Athletic Boosters meet the fourth Monday at the High School Auditeria at 7:00 p.m. FFA Alumni meet the first Thursday at the High School Ag Building at 7:00 p.m. and the Sixteen Annual Mt. Gilead Hall of Fame will be on Friday, February 7, 2014.

The board set a special meeting date for January 21 at 7:00 p.m.

The board then went into executive session, in Accordance With ORC 121.22G1 – The appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion or compensation of a public employee or official, or the investigation of charges or complaints against a public employee, official, licensee, or regulated individual, and In Accordance With ORC 121.22G4 – Preparing for, conducting, or reviewing negotiations or bargaining sessions with public employees concerning their compensation.

The next regular board meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.