The Delaware City Schools Board of Education swore in its student board member and discussed not only the upcoming school year, but also the 2020 renewal levy at its meeting Monday.

The meeting took place in person in the board room at the Willis Education Center for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and members of the board sat apart from each other and wore masks.

At the start of the meeting, Treasurer and CFO Melissa Swearingen administered the oath of office to Mackenzie Collett, a rising senior at Hayes who will be serving as the student board member for the 2020-2021 school year.

In June, Collett said she has been at Delaware City Schools for her entire academic career and has grown up in the district. She is involved in several extracurriculars, including Ohio Youth and Government, Mock Trial, National Honor Society, Key Club, and several golf programs.

As a member of the board, Collett will attend the board’s regular meetings and executive sessions, will update the board on student matters, and will have a symbolic vote on all board actions.

Collett said Tuesday she is looking forward to serving on the board.

“I am incredibly honored and excited to be able to serve in this capacity due to the fact that it allows me to represent the student voice in matters that both directly and indirectly affect us students,” Collett said in an email. “With that being said, I am also nervous as I am one student trying to encapsulate and represent the voices of close to 2,000 high schoolers who may differ, especially in these times, in opinion. I am relying on my peers to communicate with me whether it be through email, social media, or by phone their opinions, concerns, and questions about the topics discussed at meetings and events that occur at Hayes, so that I may not only represent myself and those who are like-minded, but all students within Hayes.”

Collett added she understands the responsibly that comes with the position and is excited for the opportunity.

“While I can honestly say that I never expected to be giving my input on such impactful decisions, such as those pertaining to the method at which students learn (virtual vs. hybrid) and how to make Hayes, along with all DCS schools more inclusive, I am excited for the opportunity to have meaningful discussions,” Collett said. “In being the student representative on the board I get the incredible opportunity to have discussions with those who I may not have gotten to talk to before on topics that they may not normally talk about.”

After Collett was sworn in, Superintendent Heidi Kegley said she is excited Collett is the new board member.

“I’ve known Mackenzie her entire school career, and we’re excited to have her join us on the board” Kegley said.

Kegley then read statements from the three unions in the district — DCTA, UE and OAPSE — all of which expressed gratitude to the board for the plans for the district’s reopening, while also encouraging the board to keep up with current information and change the plans accordingly.

“DCTA is committed to providing the highest quality of education to our students,” said Kegley, reading a statement from DCTA Co-Presidents Kim Becker and PJ Terry. “The educators of Delaware City Schools are ready to educate our youth.”

Board President Matt Weller said the board will continue to monitor the pandemic and change the district’s plans accordingly.

Swearingen gave the board a quick financial update, noting the district’s revenue and expenditures were both down because of the pandemic. She added state funding was cut by $775,000 in May, and the state is currently keeping districts at reduced rates.

However, Swearingen said the district has received a couple of CARES Act grants in the amounts of $580,000 and $285,000, and she added the district will be applying for more grants to increase connectivity for students and families.

Looking forward, Swearingen discussed the 11.73 millssubstitute levy renewal, which will be on the ballot in November. Swearingen said the levy was last renewed in 2010 and generates $9.4 million each fiscal year. She said the money makes up “27% of our general fund property tax revenue” and the funds are “critical” for operations.

The board also approved several resignation,s including Shari Beard, a School Aged Child Care Program assistant and educational assistant at Woodward; Stephanie Bohmer, an educational assistant at Dempsey Middle School; Cassidy Brown, a SACC Program assistant; Sheri Faulkner, a cook/cashier at Dempsey; Kasey Hershberger, an educational assistant at Carlisle; Amanda Loyer, an administrative assistant at Smith; and Lorraine McGraw, who is retiring from her position as an educational assistant at Woodward.

The board also approved the employment of Amy Glandon, who will serve as an intervention specialist at Hayes. Beard was also rehired as an SACC assistant site manager at Carlisle.

The board also voted to approve the bus stops for the 2020-2021 school year.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 14 at Willis.

Delaware City Schools Treasurer and CFO Melissa Swearingen swears in Mackenzie Collett, the new student board member at Monday’s meeting at Willis Education Center. City Schools Treasurer and CFO Melissa Swearingen swears in Mackenzie Collett, the new student board member at Monday’s meeting at Willis Education Center. Heidi Kegley | Delaware City Schools

By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.