Welcome back to March’s meeting summary! Sorry for the delay on this one. My wife gave birth to our new baby boy last week and things have been a bit busy. Baby and mom are doing well and we are all very excited to have a new member of the family. I plan on providing a follow-up summary of each board meeting to try and help provide transparency for my decisions while on the board. All of the views, opinions and decisions in these summaries are my own. Here is the summary.
I want to remind everyone that if you would like to read the minutes for yourself you can go to https://go.boarddocs.com/oh/xeniaoh/Board.nsf/Public# and select meetings to see all of the past meetings. Then if you select a meeting there is a link to the agenda and minutes from that meeting. The minutes from the most recent meeting, however, will not be available until approved at the following meeting.
March 14th was board meeting number 3 and procedurally it gets smoother every time. This meeting we had a couple people get up to address the board, which I appreciated. We need to keep the community actively engaged with the school. We then voted to approve the Superintendents consent agenda. The things in this agenda are supposed to be items that are regularly voted on and generally non-controversial. Most of the consent agenda is usually resignations and hiring of new personnel. The topics pulled out of this month’s consent agenda were, the volunteer appointments, changes to the social worker job description, Xenia High School internship, and a contract with GCESC for FY23. This last month we had 13 new or returning volunteers for our schools. That is really great! We need to continue to get parents active and involved in the schools to take Xenia Schools to the next level. We would like to bring the school social worker back under the XCS umbrella and not rely on one provided from another entity. In order to do so, it is important to have a job description that details exactly what we would like the social worker to do. After reviewing the proposed job description I thought it could use a little more work to be exactly what we would want. Mary provided an example of some other school social worker job descriptions that the HR department can use as well. The Board and the Superintendent agreed that we would continue to update the job description and bring it back for the next board meeting. The Xenia High School internship will be a great opportunity for some of our very own students to get an inside look into running a school district and get some great work experience. The Greene County ESC contract was just a renewal of the current contract.
The Treasure presented a good financial report and we have received most of funds for the year. The projections show us ending the year in a very good spot financially. There was also good information presented about how state revenue is calculated. I encourage everyone to check out the annual financial report. https://www.xeniaschools.org/leadership/district_financials
Last month there was a presentation of the XCS curriculum. Here is where you can find the curriculum online to look through. The Director of Curriculum has been working for 18+ months to get a unified curriculum that works well for our teachers and students. https://www.xeniaschools.org/departments/instructional_services
There was a resolution proposed to express opposition to the passage of HB 290 or the “Backpack Bill.” This was a difficult vote for me. I personally thought it was very early for this resolution since the bill is still only in committee and still has a long way to go and I expect will see changes. I asked that we edit the resolution to apply only to the Backpack Bill and only to how it is currently written. I do think the Bill needs some work done to make sure that the parents that choose to keep their kids in public schools and the parents that choose to take their kids elsewhere get the same amount of money and benefits. There needs to be a way to account for the kids using vouchers and allow their tax dollars to follow them while still providing sufficient money to the public schools to provide a quality education. I expect many of those details to be worked out as the Backpack Bill goes through the process. I also think it’s my duty to do everything I can to provide the best possible education to the students of Xenia. I don’t know how I do that if we end up constantly guessing how much revenue we will receive every year or there ends up being significant cuts to the budget. These cuts could be completely unintentional as well, meaning, say we only have 10 students elect to leave XCS and use vouchers, but 500,000+ state wide start using vouchers. XCS may technically only lose a small portion of our student population and state money per student, however, if the impact is big enough on the total state pot of money the state may have to give less per student to public schools. This means that potentially a student on a voucher could be receiving significantly more money towards their education from the state taxes than a student not using a voucher. I was elected by the community so the community opinion is very important. I know there is a lot of national distrust of public schools right now, but I am doing my best to prove why we deserve the trust of the Xenia community. I want parents to have a choice, but I also want to provide for the students that are directly in my care. In the end I voted to approve the amended resolution and it was passed by the board. As the Backpack Bill progresses this is something that I am willing to look at again and see how we can best support the community and schools.
There was also a discussion on convening a board committee on CRT. This was requested during the public address last month. As I discussed last month, I think a lot of work has been done to put the curriculum online and after what I have seen I don’t see CRT subjects/ideas being taught in our curriculum. Therefore, in my opinion starting a committee on CRT would only cause further divisions and issues. I think if the discussion on race relations needs to continue it should do so on a community/city level and the schools should not be the mediator. The board generally agreed and decided no committee was necessary.
The motion regarding requiring a Board vote for future mask mandates that was made by George and tabled last month pending legal opinion was taken off the table. After some discussion the motion was voted down by a split vote 3-2. I voted against the motion because after some consideration, I think a motion is not the correct way to institute this idea. I think it is more appropriate to create or modify a policy to encapsulate this plan. A policy can be used to provide better/more detailed direction and gives the superintendent exactly what the board would like him to do. I expect Mary and our policy committee to put something together and bring it before the Board.
Please send me any comments, concerns, feedback, or questions you may have. I serve you and I am here to represent you to the best of my abilities.