HOWARD — Custodian Willard Thompson was honored by the East Knox Board of Education at its meeting on Wednesday. Thompson is retiring Jan. 1, and the board passed a resolution formally recognizing Thompson for his 34 years of dedicated service to the district. The board said his work has “made a remarkable difference in the experience for the students, and the quality of each building he has dedicated his work in. ... His efforts make East Knox a better place for kids.”
Superintendent Matt Caputo also formally expressed his thanks and gratitude to the staff members, administrators, community members and local support systems. “In light of the recent crisis,” he said, “we have received an outpouring of support and help from a variety of sources. The Ohio Crisis Response Team helped coordinate staff and student support and provided resources to educate parents and address the media. We had over 30 counselors, social workers and others in our district to address the emotional needs of students and staff. ... I’m very pleased with the amount and types of support we were and are currently providing to our students, staff and community.”
A discussion of school district’s finances also took place at the meeting, Treasurer Jessi Busenburg told the News on Thursday. The situation is bleak and the financial future doesn’t look much better, she said.
Caputo said, “As we face major financial challenges we will also have to recognize the fact that the state of Ohio will also be experiencing financial challenges over the next biennium. We are expecting declining resources at the state level, yet we are not quite sure how drastic these will be.”
Caputo said he will be meeting with community members and others to discuss the situation. “We will need to study all of our options to manage declining resources,” he said, “as we prepare our students for the future.”
With Bob Durbin voting no, the board moved to institute pay-to-participate fees for interscholastic athletics beginning the spring of 2011. The fees, for athletes in grades seven through 12, are as follows: $250 per sport for students in grades none through 12 and $150 per sports for athletes in grades seven and eight. There will be a $500 per family cap per year. Besides approving routine fiscal actions, the board renewed membership in the Ohio School Boards Association for 2011. It also switch property, liability and fleet coverage to the Ohio School Plan which, Busenburg said will result in premium savings.
Regarding personnel, the board accepted the resignation of first-grade teacher Carol Hall, effective Jan. 14. Jennifer Demczyk was approved as a home instructor for the 2010-11 school year, and Jennifer Burch was employed as a long-term substitute for an elementary teacher on maternity leave, beginning approximately Jan. 3. The board also granted up to six weeks unpaid leave to second-grade teacher Angie Thompson, beginning after the end of her paid maternity leave.
It also approved a proposed trip to England and Paris for juniors and seniors in 2012, and an Art Club overnight field trip to Pittsburgh in March. This will be at no cost to the board.
The next 2011 organizational meeting will be held on Jan. 12, at 6:30 p.m. in the middle school. A budget hearing will immediately follow the organizational meeting and will be followed by the regular monthly meeting. Renee McDaniel will serve as president pro tempore until a new board president is elected that evening.