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Bellefontaine BOE: Teachers to receive 1.5 percent raise

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District to begin school year in new buildings

Bellefontaine Board of Education members approved at their Monday evening meeting a new master contract with the Bellefontaine Education Association, which will include a 1.5 percent raise on base salaries for certified staff members.

The three-year agreement begins Sept. 1, and was ratified by BEA members Thursday. At the start of years two and three, the contract allows for re-opening negotiations for the financial package.

Treasurer Keith Krieger said certified employees have not received any raises since 2010. The receipt of additional state funds made it possible for the district to pursue this option.

“We’re treading water calmly for right now, and with these additional state funds, we decided we could issue raises for staff members. However, we are still waiting to find out if some of the state funds must be earmarked for certain items.”

Overall, Superintendent Beth Harman said the negotiation process with the BEA went well.

“They’re a very reasonable group of people to deal with,” she said.

With the new school year approaching, the superintendent reported on work at the new elementary school and the new middle school located at 1001 Ludlow Road and 1201 Ludlow Road, respectively, that will open to students for the first time Tuesday.

The district has occupancy of both buildings, and the elementary school staff began moving in last week. Middle school teachers also started moving in their classroom supplies Friday, Mrs. Harman said.

During the spring, construction work at the middle school fell slightly behind schedule after water damage was sustained in one area of the building. A water pipe burst on the first floor that houses the sixth-grade classrooms, as previously reported in the Examiner.

To make up for lost time, construction crews have been working into the evening hours and on weekends during the past several weeks to ready the building for the school year, the superintendent said.

In both facilities, one component of the new buildings that might not be completely ready by the opening date is some of the technology equipment.

“There may be some blue tape on the walls, but we will be in the buildings,” Mrs. Harman said. “The technology piece might not be quite where we’d like it to be, but we will be able to have classes even if some SMART boards aren’t working right away.”

During the committee of the whole report, the district’s new executive director of instructional services, Christine Galvin, former Bellefontaine High School principal, reported on a new state report card standard, the annual measurable objective.

This new tool will replace the former adequate yearly progress category, and will continue to look at the performance of different student subgroups on the reading and math portions of the test.

With the AMO section, it will be difficult for schools to receive points even when improvements have been made if the student subgroup scores still fall below federal standards.

This category is one of several other report card objectives, including value-added, indicators and performance index.

Beginning with the official report card to be released later this month, school districts will receive a letter grade from A through F for each of these indicators, but not an overall letter grade encompassing all of the parts, Ms. Galvin said.

Jill Payne, special education coordinator, also presented information on the district’s updated positive behavior support and training on limited use of restraint and seclusion. A group of district staff members recently was trained on updated restraint techniques.

“We talk about how to verbally de-escalate a situation,” she said. “Restraint is always used as a last resort.”

A training on these verbal techniques also will be offered for bus drivers and interested district parents Aug. 23.

In other action, the board:

• accepted the resignations of Jill Hill, high school medical aide, effective Aug. 12; Kayce Horn, middle school educational aide, effective Aug. 5; and Emily Yelton, food service, effective Aug. 2;

• approved the appointment of Megan Cira, fourth-grade language arts, effective Aug. 16, along with the appointment of bus driver Kim Blackburn, effective Aug. 20; and the appointment of Melanie Longbrake as a certified occupational therapy assistant for a 148-day contract beginning Aug. 20;

• approved time changes for custodians Kevin Walker to two hours per day and Tina Williams for eight hours per day; and

• re-appointed Edward Wallace to serve a three-year term on the Bellefontaine Joint Recreation Board.  

The next meeting is 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26.

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