The Delaware City Schools Board of Education on Tuesday approved placing a substitute levy on the ballot, accepted the resignation of Assistant Superintendent Craig Heath, and heard an update on Hayes High School.
During the meeting, the board voted to approve a resolution declaring the intent to proceed with a substitution of an emergency tax levy. The 5.80-mill levy would replace an existing 5.81-mill emergency operating levy that was first passed in 2011 and renewed in 2017. The new levy would raise $6.2 million for the district.
At the board’s May meeting, Treasurer and CFO Melissa Swearingen said the district’s five-year forecast predicts a deficit in fiscal year 2024. A Resolution of Necessity for the levy was approved at a prior meeting, and Swearingen said at the last meeting the deadline for filing with the Delaware County Board of Elections is Aug. 10.
If approved this November, the levy would take effect in January 2023.
Assistant Superintendent Craig Heath briefed the board on House Bill 99, which address the arming of school staff. Heath said Gov. Mike DeWine emphasized in a letter that the decision should be left to individual districts. Heath added he doesn’t believe the district needs to begin arming teachers at this time.
“We have a strong partnership with our Delaware City Police Department and our school resource officers,” Heath said. “We work collaboratively with them to conduct various drills during the year and continue to work with out staff on various safety training and updates. We would not recommend to the board that we change any of our current practices and policies.”
Board President Michael Wiener agreed, adding, “With the strong relationship with our city police department and the school resource officers in the buildings, I do not believe it’s necessary or appropriate at this time.”
The board then heard an update about Hayes High School from Principal Ric Stranges, Vice Principal Rex Reeder, science teacher Keith Butts and rising senior Cassie Klumpp.
Klumpp briefed the board on her part in forming the PACER Spirit Committee, which she said is focused on creating new traditions and increasing school spirit. Klumpp expressed her excitement and invited the board to Pacer Fest, a pep rally that will be held on Aug. 5 at Hayes High School.
Stranges, Reeder and Butts discussed the new grading scale that was piloted this past year at Hayes. Reeder said the new scale is mastery based and grades students on their understanding and application of a subject instead of performances on tests and quizzes.
Reeder added the scale was taught in two frequently failed courses last year, including Butts’ physical science course. Reeder said none of the 200 students in the courses failed.
“Students know exactly what they need to do to attain the grade that they desire,” Butts said. “That’s one of the things I really like about proficiency scales is I know what I have to do to be able to obtain the outcome that I want … It gave our students confidence, which leads to competence. I’ve seen this in my classroom this past year. Student scoring 1s at the beginning of the year were scoring 2.5 and 3s by the middle to end of the year … As teachers we need to meet the students where they are at and the proficiency scales and the mastery approach gives us a chance to do so.”
Reeder said seven courses at the high school will use the new grading scale next year, and the school has a five-year plan to increase the use of the scale at the school.
The board then approved Heath’s resignation after he accepted a position as the superintendent of Mentor Public Schools last week. The district said last week it’s already searching for Heath’s successor.
The board also approved the resignation of Alexis Gilliland, an educational assistant at Dempsey Middle School.
Board members approved a number of employments, including Eliza Gentkowski, a math teacher at Hayes; Sarah Glissman, a school counselor at Conger Elementary; Sean Griffin, a learning support teacher at Woodward Elementary; Paige Kucinic, a math/science teacher at Schultz Elementary; and Aaryn McCauley, an English teacher at Dempsey Middle School.
Additionally, the board approved a $256,429.60 change order with PSI, Inc. for roof replacement at Schultz.
The board also approved a 2.75% salary increase for all administrative and exempt employee salaries, effective Aug. 1 and a 2.5% increase effective Aug. 1, 2023.
The board will meet next at 6 p.m. July 11.