MOUNT GILEAD — At the November school board meeting, Mount Gilead Schools Superintendent Dr. Zack Howard encouraged district residents to complete the community Strategic Plan Stakeholders survey.
Survey questions concern what areas of emphasis parents, teachers and district residents believe are important over the next three years for the school district.
Howard said the survey will help in planning for the future of education in the community. The survey is the first step in the district’s strategic planning process.
The survey can be filled out online at www.mgschools.org. The link to the survey is at the top of the home page. Residents can also pick up and return a paper copy of the survey at the board office or any of the district school buildings.
Board OKs five-year forecast
District Treasurer Tina Gabler presented a positive picture of the district’s financial history and the five-year forecast for the board.
“The board members have been good stewards of the additional funds that have come in for the levy since January of 2020,” Gabler said.
Gabler said the additional funds from the .75 income tax levy have given the district financial stability that is allowing the district to tackle some projects and services that have been put off for many years.
The board voted during the meeting to approve the proposal to replace the high school track and field next year. It is a project that has been delayed for many years due to lack of funds.
Salaries for teachers have been increased with the Union Agreement with the Teachers Association by two percent for Fiscal years 2021, 2022 and 2023. Health benefits for employees were also improved by the agreement. This brings district salaries and benefits close to being on par with other districts in Morrow County.
Other issues the board will be addressing are the need for roofing improvements on buildings, heating and air (HVAC) improvements and additional repair and updates on some buildings. The board has contracted with an architect for complete assessment of district facilities.
“It’s good the district now has the resources for working on those issues and projects,” Gabler said.
“Finances were not negatively affected by Covid since we were able to use federal Covid 19 funds to purchase needed supplies.” Gabler added. “We were able to purchase a needed Chiller for Park Avenue for the HVAC system. That is because of the need to have good air quality in the classrooms, which allowed that purchase with Covid funds.”
Track and field improvements
Architect Todd Wrobleski and Ryan DeMay for Field Source presented a timeline for the track and field project.
The design phase of the project will continue through February 28, 2022, followed by the proposal/bidding stage. The construction is slated to begin April 2, 2022 and continue through the summer.
Wrobleski plans for the turf grass to be sown close to Memorial Day and hopes to have the first mowing around the Fourth of July.
Track and other sports activities are being coordinated with turf planting and construction.
Several board members had concerns about cost increases, inflation and follow through of plans by contractors.
Both Wrobleski and DeMay assured the board the contractors would be contacted for bids that had both experience and expertise in constructing this kind of project.
In other business:
• The board approved the superintendent’s recommendation for a change in the requirements for substitute teachers. The district may now employ an individual who does not hold a post-secondary degree for the 2021-2022 school year with the following qualifications:
The individual possesses an associate degree or higher from an accredited institution of higher education or completed at least two years of coursework at an accredited institution of higher education (48 semester hours, or 72 quarter hours.)
• Howard gave an update of Covid numbers for the district, which continue to decline. He said a “game changer” has been the new state policy of “Mask to Stay.” Students testing positive for Covid still must quarantine at home. However, students in contact with those who tested positive can now stay in school if they wear a mask.
• Employment for several substitute teachers was approved along with supplemental contracts for Middle School Track coaches, volunteer Wrestling coach, 7th grade boys’ basketball coach, volunteer bowling coach, Middle School Art Club and Environmental Club advisors.
• Next board meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 21 at the Board of Education office at 7 p.m.