Mount Gilead Schools considers future projects

By Alberta Stojkovic - For The Sentinel

MOUNT GILEAD — The Mount Gilead School Board meeting opened Tuesday, July 20 with praises from parents for the district’s summer enrichment program.

“The teachers and aides are doing a great job and my kids are really enthusiastic about the program,” Janet Edwards said. She added that it is really an enrichment program where children are learning as well as having fun.

District projects

Interim Superintendent Larry Zimmerman said the survey of the high school track has been completed. The architect said they will have to take the entire track down due to the many layers. The track project is slated to begin next summer 2022.

Board President Mike Sayers said he has had many comments that there is also a need to redo the lighting at the football field.

There was general discussion that grass or sod is preferred to artificial turf on the field. Board member Matthew Griffith said he would like to see an estimate on the cost of drainage for the field.

Zimmerman said to call him if there are further suggestions or questions about the track and field project. The architect is scheduled to meet with the board at the September meeting.

The board listed several other projects to be considered:

• The roof on the Mount Gilead High School building has leaks and needs fixed.

• A complete inspection of the district’s buildings is needed.

• There are questions on what to do with the Cherry Street building and gymnasium.

• An inspection of the football stadium bleachers is needed. Treasurer Tina Gabler said that could be done by the district’s insurance company, along with an inspection of the playground.

Treasurer report

Gabler reported that Ohio HB 110 was enacted. The bill moves funding from where students live to where students are educated and going to school.

She is uncertain what effect this will have on the district until the changes begin in October this fall. The question is how to track students that are in the district and going to other school districts or private and community schools.

“This is a big change in the school funding mechanisms,” Zimmerman said.

“It is probably the biggest change I have seen in 30 years,” Gabler said.

Gabler asks that all families who qualify fill out the applications for free and reduced meals. This is important to fill out these forms even though all student lunches are now free with funding from Covid. Lunch fees can’t be waived without these forms being turned in.

This will also ensure the district will have the correct level of state funding.

Superintendent actions

The board approved the list of supplemental contracts for the summer, and school year 2021/2022, substitute listing, and employment for band camp. The contract for shared services for Occupational Therapist was approved between Cardington-Lincoln School District and Mount Gilead school district for 2021-2022 school year.

Zimmerman said he worked with two school board members and the teachers’ union president to improve salaries for coaches and activities supplemental positions. They provided a packet of suggestions for the board to consider at the next board meeting.

He said that it is important for the district to be more competitive in salaries. He has noticed a considerable turnover in positions in the district. He said it is important to take many factors into consideration on how salaries are decided.

“It is important to have salaries that are competitive with surrounding districts,” Zimmerman said. “This keeps more stability in positions, as well as being more competitive with other districts in the county.”

This was the last meeting for Zimmerman, who has held the position of Interim Superintendent since November 2019.

“I believe we have made some strides forward with infrastructure in the district,” said Zimmerman. “And there is still more for Zack (new Superintendent Zack Howard) to do.”

“I had the idea you would be here only three months until we were able to hire a new person,” said Sayers, thanking him for his work for the district. “That turned into 18 months with the pandemic.”

The next meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m.

By Alberta Stojkovic

For The Sentinel