The retirement and rehiring of Grades 4-8 Principal Dennis Ervin was a subject of debated during a public meeting held during Northmor’s regular Board of Education August 21, 2014.
The hearing was held after a ninety minute executive session that took place eleven minutes into the board meeting. When board members returned from the session, they opened the floor for comments.
“I don’t believe this is a good policy to be going on,” one resident stated. “It keeps the older employees here and you’re not getting the newer employees into the system. Eventually, by keeping these older employees, you’re going to have an ‘all-out’ situation at some point in time. All these age brackets are going to pile up and you’re going to have a mass exodus of retirees with no one to replace them.”
The resident went on to say the retirement fund is not in good standing and some of the reasons are because of reasons similar to an article in the Columbus Dispatch on January 15 of this year. The article stated an independent company hired to do an audit for the fund said that there will be possible cuts and they will have to raise the contributions.
“The unfunded liabilities was at 36.1 years instead of 30,” the resident explained. “After they did their audit, it’s now at 40.2 years. There’s more liabilities out there than they have funds.”
He said to keep a fund solvent, ‘you need to keep younger people there, paying into it with fresh cash coming in.’
“These people that retire/rehire stop paying in,” he stressed. “They have an annuity they pay into, but it does not go into the retirement fund. So you have these people drawing (retirement) but still working. I’d like to see this policy change. It’s up to you. It can be done at a board level. It’s not a mandatory thing that you have to do this (rehire the principal).”
He said down the road, when the fund gets defunct, ‘these teachers are going to have to pay in more, the board is going to have to pay in more, and it will come back on the taxpayers. It’s a taxpayer based fund and we’ve got to get this under control.’
Another resident asked, “Do we need four administrators?”
“You probably read about what the responsibilities of the principals are in state mandated observations and evaluations of teachers,” Supt. Dr. Brent Winand responded. “If you take two observations per evaluation, times 3 evaluations times the number of teachers you have, in the case of 20 teachers. you’re looking at 2 1/2 weeks of work at eight hours a day dedicated to nothing but observations.”
Winand was referring to new requirements by the State of Ohio to evaluate teachers based on the progress of their students.
“Do we need four administrators?” he asked. “In my opinion, yes and I think you’ll see in districts where administration has been cut, with this new policy we have, it’s almost impossible to do. In fact, what we see is districts who actually sub-contract out for ‘hired gun evaluators’ to come in and supplement the amount of time the teachers spend in the classrooms.”
Winand said it was a legitimate question and ‘there’s a lot more to it than what’s on the surface.’
“It takes two one-half hour observations per one evaluation and three evaluations in a year,” he said. “They do walk-throughs in addition to that.”
A sheet was passed out by a resident showing the ratio of principals to the number of students in other districts, both in and out of the county. Winand said the board used the Ohio Department of Education’s site to compare Northmor to local schools districts and the state average, and Northmor was ‘under’ in the state average.
Board President Dan Sipes thanked those who spoke and assured them the subject will be deliberated in the future.
“We realize it’s not a popular concept and we are going to revisit it,” he said. “There are things in process right now, like an agreement we just reached with the teachers and non-certified staff, so we’re looking at three years down the road to make any significant changes with that. But it’s definitely an issue we’re going to be looking at. The reason we do it is because we feel we can rehire an extremely qualified individual at less money.”
“The cost is down the road when this retirement starts falling apart,” said a resident.
“Any major changes are going to come down the road,” replied Sipes.
The board voted 3/2 to approve the retirement and rehire of Dennis Ervin.
Under New Business, the board voted to:
- Approve all existing Job Descriptions.
- Adopt the revised Emergency Management Plan.
- Adopt the Calamity Day Plan for the 2014-2015 School Year. Five Calamity Days will be without make-up for students and all additional days will be made up via e-lessons and/or “blizzard bags.” Any calamity days that might cause the district to surpass the minimum hours required by the Ohio Revised Code will be made up by a Board of Education approved schedule.
“It’s not significantly different than in the past,” Winand said. “Everything else will be made up. The state felt it was important the kids have work after day five.”
- Approve entering into a Personal Services Contract with the Galion City Schools for the purpose of Northmor transporting a special needs student to Mt. Gilead EVSD.
- Approve up to ten people to attend the Ohio School Boards Association Capital Conference in November.
- Appoint a delegate and alternate to attend the annual business meeting at the Ohio School Boards Association Capital Conference. Richard Smith was appointed as the delegate and Jeff Whisler is the alternate.
- Authorized the Treasurer to create Super Blankets for FY15 that will expire June 30, 2015. Treasurer Tammi Cowell explained Super Blankets are purchase orders that allow the treasurer to make expenditures for reasonable recurring and predictable purchases, such as fuel, food items, utilities, etc. These purchase orders ‘eliminate the need to keep coming back each month or week to get a new purchase orders to make those expenditures.’
- Approve Core Source as the employee dental insurance provider effective 10-1-14 through 9-30-15. Family - $108.22 monthly and Single - $42.10 monthly.
Employment Recommendations for 2014 - 2015, the board voted to:
Accept the resignation of Ben Schaad from the position of Assistant Football Coach.
Employ: Tammy Wilgus and Peggie VanHorn to transport pre-school students to Northmor Pre-School, Monday through Thursday; to transport pre-school students from Northmor Pre-School, Monday through Thursday; and Melissa Chapin for the position of substitute bus driver.
Change the contract of Gary Miller from Freshman Football Coach to Assistant Football Coach.
The next Board Meeting will be held on September 18, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in the Northmor Board of Education Meeting Room.
Reach Randa Wagner at 419-946-3010, ext. 1803 or on Twitter@MorrCoSentinel.