The Mount Gilead Exempted Village Schools Board of Education opened its Sept. 19 meeting in the high school’s community room with a presentation of the new HVAC system by Ameresco technician Brannon Zinke.

During his presentation, Zinke demonstrated how the new system maps buildings and classrooms, and can pinpoint problems in the heating and air conditioning systems. The new system can diagnose the reason for a problem and know what the fix is for the situation.

District Treasurer Tina Gabler noted the new HVAC system was funded with a mix of COVID funds and matching grants. Operation manager Ryan Newman said he has already started using the system, and it has been good at identifying problems.

Curriculum Director Emily Ross expressed pride in the district’s overall rating of four stars out of five on the report card issued recently by the State of Ohio. The four stars is one higher than the state’s recommended three stars. She noted the middle school achieved the highest rating of five stars in two categories. She added there is still room for improvement in some areas, especially the elementary grades. She will go into more details at the October board meeting.

The new Park Avenue Principal Ally Schleichert reported there are 11 new teachers at Park Avenue this fall. Two were hired before school started due to an increase in student numbers. Schleichert and the new counselor are working together to implement activities to support students and teachers. They started a daily “Pow Wow” on the first day of school to set the tone for the day and provide a sense of community for teachers and students. There are drawings for prizes on Friday for students being responsible and showing good work. She will be communicating with parents about the new report card students will be receiving.

Band Director Ross Runyon said the music boosters are looking to replace the band uniforms which are 16 years old, and many are in poor condition. He asked if the board would be willing to pay half the cost. Sixty new uniforms will be needed with 50 in the marching band. Uniforms are about $500 each, which would result in a total cost of approximately $30,000. Music boosters are raising funds, and so far this year the group has raised $6,200.

Board members were generally favorable about supporting the project and asked Runyon to come back to the board with a definite quote next month. Runyon said he will get quotes and hopes to have the funds to get the uniforms for next fall season.

The board heard the first reading of the resolution to make provisional changes to board policies and administrative guidelines to comply with House Bill 33. The policy has been revised to reflect changes in immunization requirements.

In board initiated items, Board President Mike Sayers said he would not like to have the district support vaccination clinics for students. He said he has heard from some families who feel pressured to have children vaccinated and also does not want to have the expense of the clinics for the district. He said parents should have the responsibility for getting their children vaccinated.

Gabler said there is no cost to the district since it is the county board of health which provides the clinics. Superintendent Zack Howard said it is necessary for the district to comply with Ohio law in having students vaccinated. He added that some children would not have a way to get to a place for vaccinations and have the opportunity to have vaccinations without the clinic. Howard said the next vaccination clinic is scheduled for October. Parents are able to opt out of vaccinations for religious and other family reasons. The subject was tabled after further discussion.

The board approved staffing for before and after school and Chief’s Club programs, District Leadership Team, Building Leadership Team, Positive Behavioral Intervention Support (PBIS) Intervention Team and Teacher Mentor Program. Supplementals for winter sports coaches and assistant coaches were approved. A complete listing of all individuals approved can be found under board docs in the board of education meetings section at

The board approved Howard’s recommendation to make Monday, April 8, a teacher work day when the total solar eclipse can be seen in every area in the county. Morrow County EMA Director John Harsch has predicted there will be a large influx of people in the county since the pathway of the eclipse will be directly through the county. Leading up to April 8, the district will provide lessons in science classrooms that details the science behind the solar eclipse. The last total eclipse in Ohio was in 1806, and the next will be in 2044.

Howard gave updates on the Cherry Street gym. The overhead electric rough is complete, and asbestos abatement of existing insulation is complete. The painter started recently with the ceiling and is moving down to the walls. Gym equipment is scheduled to be delivered and installed shortly, and the wood floor is scheduled to ship soon. Speakers for the AV system have arrived.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Oct. 17 at the BOE office.

Alberta Stojkovic is a correspondent for The Morrow County Sentinel.