Well summer vacation got to me. Sorry for the delay in these summaries, but without further ado here is June’s meeting summary! 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.
June 27th was the June board meeting due to vacations for most of the board members. We had a couple people get up to address the board on a few topics. One of the comments was a proposal to name the Xenia High School gym in honor of Phil Anderson. I know Coach Anderson had a very big impact on this community and I look forward to working with the board and administration to make this happen. Most of the other comments addressed items on this month’s agenda.
Over the last couple of months we have discussed and approved hiring interns from our high school students this summer. This month we approved 23 summer interns! I think it is fantastic that not only are we able to provide some of our students with summer employment but they are also learning valuable skills. I’d also like to offer my congratulations to Coach Bartley on his appointment to Dean of Students and welcome back Mr. Klopp as the athletic director. I should also recognize Mr. Richey for all of the amazing things he has done for our students and district. We will miss him and I hope he enjoys retirement.
We had a presentation on the progress from the bullying committee. I liked their plan to be more mindful of bullying and make bullying prevention a stronger focus going forward through training, programs, and reporting processes. I was a little disappointed that their metrics for determining the success of the plan are still a bit squishy. I’m hopeful that over their next few meetings they can put together more firm ways to determine progress in bullying prevention. I do believe their presentation showed improvement and progress in the district to address bullying. I also think each of our individual school buildings are doing a great deal to make sure each student feels welcome and safe at school.
This month we also approved two resolutions to add two levy RENEWALS to the November election ballet. These resolutions will now be approved by the county and the county will set the appropriate millage. We will then have to approve the millage and they can be submitted to the Board of Elections for the ballot at a later board meeting. It is important to note that these levies are renewals of existing levies and are not new taxes. These levies will cover our operating costs over the next 5 years and are necessary for us to continue to operate at the same level we are currently.
Another big item we discussed was our renewal of membership to the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding. As I discussed in May, I personally think that it is not appropriate to use tax payer dollars to join litigation. We already pay annual dues to the OSBA that uses its lobbying arm to support or oppose bills. We can also send resolutions to our local representatives at any time voicing our support or opposition to a particular bill. I don’t think spending more money to also join a lawsuit is necessary or a good use of funds. I also think that a lawsuit, among other things, against a bill that is still in committee and not even completely written is a bit pre-mature. In the end we voted 3-2 to not renew our membership and therefore no longer take part in the lawsuit.
We also discussed the policy on the care of students with diabetes. This is definitely a difficult subject and it has taken us several months to come to a solution. The view I shared is that I don’t see a good way to immediately hire enough RN/LPNs to meet our needs. I don’t want to tie our hands with a policy we might not be able to satisfy. We voted 4-1 to approve option 1 which allows for trained personnel to administer to students with diabetes. However, we did direct the administration that going forward we need to make it a priority to hire nurses when we can and to work with parents as they develop the administrative policies to enact this board policy. I know some parents may be disappointed in this policy, but I’m confident that over the next few years we will be able to hire enough nurses to meet the increasing care needs of our students.
The last topic on this month’s agenda was a discussion on school safety and security. With several shootings over the last few months I wanted to start the discussion on what more XCS can do to ensure the safety of students and staff. Over the next few months we will review what our current plans and measures are and then determine if there are additional measures we can take. Some options I suggested were hiring more School Resource Officers, allowing our staff the option to take training and be armed, and holding active shooter training exercises. All options are currently on the table and we will do everything we can to ensure school safety and security.
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.