London City Schools leader bids farewell

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick London school board president Marvin Homan (right) thanks outgoing superintendent Tom Ben for his service.
Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
London school board president Marvin Homan (right) thanks outgoing superintendent Tom Ben for his service.

(Posted July 30, 2015)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The London board of education officially bid farewell to Tom Ben, who steps down as superintendent on July 30 after serving the district for three-and-a-half years.

Ben originally was hired as interim superintendent in 2012. The board dropped the interim title in 2013. Ben announced his intentions to resign/retire earlier this year. The board hired Dr. Louis Kramer to take his place.

At Ben’s last school board meeting on July 21, board president Marvin Homan thanked Ben for his service.

“You came in at a time of much difficulty and much stress,” Homan said, praising Ben for providing a calming, helpful presence. He said Ben dealt with the “skeletons in the closet and cracks in the foundation” to set the district back on track.

Ben said he remembers Homan asking him at the time he was hired, “Are you going to come in and be a rubber stamp or are you going to make the changes that need to be made?”

“I hope you feel we made the changes that needed to be made,” he told the board July 21.

Ben described his time at London as a great experience and said the London school board is the best board with which he has worked in his 22 years as a superintendent.

“Working with the London board of education has been a joy because of the professionalism you all express…and just being engaged in the community,” he said.

He teared up when thanking Kristine Blind, district treasurer, for the many hours she spent helping him to adjust to the district initially and to help make hard decisions about the district’s finances.

As for his successor, Ben added, “I have a lot of confidence in Mr. Kramer” to build on the foundation already in place.

New assistant principal

Stefanie Cox is the new assistant principal at London Elementary. She will work alongside principal Carol Daniels.

The board approved a two-year contract for Cox at an annual salary of $62,000.

Originally from the Dayton area, Cox has worked the last eight years as an elementary music teacher in the Adena Local School District in Frankfort, Ohio. She attended Wright State University to earn a master’s degree in education with a focus on curriculum instruction and a principal’s license for grades K-12.

“I’m really excited to be part of London City Schools and to dive in,” she said.

Strong financial finish

Treasurer Kristine Blind reported that the district finished the year with a cash balance of $5.8 million, $600,000 more than she had forecasted.

“We ended the year better than I anticipated,” she said.

Blind attributes the difference to an increase in revenues related to Medicare back claims and higher open enrollment numbers, as well as a $300,000 decrease in purchased services due to tight fiscal management on the part of all staff members.

Pay to participate fees

The district’s pay to participate fees will remain the same for the 2015-16 school year: $50 per sport at London High School and $40 per sport at London Middle School.

Back-to-school events

The first day of the 2015-16 school year is Aug. 19. Other important dates are:

  • High school freshmen and new student orientation—Aug. 13, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sixth-grade orientation—Aug. 13, 7-8 p.m.
  • Seventh- and eighth-grade open house—Aug. 17, 7-8 p.m.
  • Ice cream social for pre-K and kindergarten—Aug. 13, 6-7 p.m.
  • Fifth-grade orientation—Aug. 13, 6 p.m.
  • Grades 1-4 open house—Aug. 17, 6-7 p.m.
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