Bus tops purchasing list following levy’s passage

(Posted Nov. 29, 2017)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

No one could fault Madison-Plains Superintendent Tim Dettwiller for the enthusiasm he showed at the Nov. 21 school board meeting.

“We won and we won big,” he exclaimed, referring to passage of the district’s permanent improvement levy in the Nov. 7 election. “It was the largest margin of victory since 2007, and it passed in all precincts.”

Passage means the district can buy several items. The top priority, Dettwiller said, is a school bus at a cost of $95,000. Then comes replacement windows for $25,000, Chromebooks to use with iPads for $60,000, and maintenance of the modular units for $8,000.

The modular units need to be jacked up so they are level, Dettwiller said, adding that the life expectancy of each unit is 25 years.

While the permanent improvement levy passed, the operating levy request on the Aug. 8 special election ballot did not. Board members will meet in special session at 6 p.m. Dec. 13 to discuss what to do about operating finances.

In another report, Dettwiller said the district’s teacher retention rate is approaching the goal the district set for the next academic year.

He showed figures from school year 2012-13 to the present. Teacher retention was at its lowest point, 84 percent, in 2015-16 and at its highest point, 91 percent, at the start of this school year.

“Our strategic plan goal is 95 percent teacher retention by the start of next year,” he said.

In other discussion, the board recognized the marching band for its superior rating at state competition.

“We’ve advanced to state competition for several years,” said band director Renee Hostetler. “We finally got our superior rating.”

Dettwiller attended the competition and said the excitement in the stands built throughout the band’s performance.

“They looked good down there on the field,” he said.

Later in the meeting, board member Bob Butz mentioned the condition of the band’s uniforms. He recalled a meeting last summer at which former board member Ken Morlock displayed a band uniform in need of repairs. At the time, Morlock said parents often must make last-minute repairs as the students are about to take the field.

The board talked briefly about assisting the band boosters with acquisition of new uniforms but deferred further discussion in light of the cost concerns.

“I’d like to see band uniforms on the board agenda,” Butz said. “We’ve put it off long enough.”

High School Principal Matt Unger introduced senior Jennifer Shafer, October’s student of the month. Shafer participates in many activities and has applied to Mount Vernon University, The Ohio State University and Harvard, among other colleges.

The board’s next regular meeting is at 7 p.m. Dec. 12.

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