Dave King was named the new president of the Olentangy Board of Education at its first meeting of the year on Thursday.
“It’s January 2016, a new year,” King said after being sworn in as part of the re-organization meeting. “But I prefer to think of this as like a school year. It’s a continuation of year 2015-16. It’s not stopping what we’re doing and starting over again. It’s a continuation of very important groups, very important people working in dedication to Olentangy Local Schools.”
An architect, King was elected to the board in 2009, after previously serving on the development committee for 11 years and assisting with the construction of 14 school buildings in the district.
The board’s new vice president is Roger Bartz, who was elected last year after being appointed last summer to fill an unexpired term. Bartz is a market director/senior client service manager for TRC Environmental Corp., the district’s website said.
Also sworn in was Kevin O’Brien, the past board president, who was re-elected by voters in November; and newcomer Mindy Patrick, who was elected to take over the seat of Adam White, who did not seek re-election. Patrick was praised for attending an Ohio School Boards Association training session.
The only board member who was not sworn in was Julie Wagner Feasel, who served as temporary board president during the re-organization meeting before King’s election.
“This is going to be a very strong board,” King said. “There’s great expertise, talent, experience and background with the district.”
The board approved a meeting schedule and committee assignments for the year, as well as refinancing its bond debt. Treasurer Brian Kern said the action will save about $2 million.
“January is board member appreciation month,” Superintendent Mark Raiff said. “I think about the type of courage and commitment that it takes to be a school board member. The small thanks you get for that is nowhere near enough for what you put yourself in front of. Having the courage and conviction to do it in the environment we’re in right now, at a crucial point in our history. The three of you (Bartz, O’Brien, Patrick) willingly ran, knowing that we were trying to build a fourth high school; knowing that we were going to have an issue on the ballot in March. You willingly stepped forward to take on that challenge, because you know how essential those things are to the future of our district.
“I hope the community appreciates all five of you and your willingness to take this on, because we are at an important juncture in our future.”
The district has placed a combined 6.9-mill levy and bond issue before voters for the March ballot. “The issue consists of three components: a no-new-millage bond issue, a 5.9-mill operating levy, and a 1-mill permanent improvement levy,” the district’s website said. “The 6.9-mill operating issue is expected to cost taxpayers an additional $241.50 a year per $100,000 of home valuation.”
“The result of the March issue will indicate what type of Olentangy schools we’re going to have for the next 30 years,” Raiff said. “I think you’ve made a wise decision to put in front of our community a fourth high school on the ballot, the permanent improvement part on the ballot so we can protect the investment; and the necessary operating funds on the ballot.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.