(Posted May 20, 2019)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Madison-Plains Local Schools students will not have to pay to participate in sports and band next school year.
On May 14, the school board voted to suspend pay-to-participate fees for the 2019-20 school year.
The fees were implemented this past school year as part of the district’s budget reduction plan. The cost was $100 per student per sport or band program, with a $200 cap per family per season.
Voters approved a 1.25 percent earned income tax levy in May 2018. The pay-to-participate fees were one of many ways the district chose to manage funding until the income tax passed and collection of the tax ramped up. Typically, it takes 18 months from the time an income tax passes before it is collected at 100 percent, according to Todd Mustain, district treasurer.
In discussion about whether to suspend the fees for the coming school year, school board member Bob Butz noted that the fees were meant to be a temporary fix until the district was on solid financial ground. The district is now in good shape, financially.
Board member Cory Coburn commented, “Given our current financial situation, if we don’t have to do it, I agree with Bob, I don’t think we should do it… I think it’s an unfair taxation on our parents.”
While he voted to suspend the fees for the coming year, board President Mark Mason noted that pay-to-participate is one of the few ways, outside of levies, the district has of raising money and that investment in sports programs helps enrollment.
Mustain reported that the district collected $32,000 in pay-to-participate fees this past school year.
When asked his thoughts on suspension of the fees, Mustain said, “Does it solve all our problems? No. Does it help? Yeah, it helps… We can do without it. It’s nice to have it.”
The board voted 5-0 to suspend the fees for next year. They will revisit the fees discussion in May 2020 for the following school year.
The district is searching for a new junior high/high school principal. The board accepted the resignation of Michelle Teis, who has served in the position for one year. The resignation becomes effective July 31. Teis has accepted a job as assistant middle school principal at Miami Trace.
Superintendent Chad Eisler reported that 13 candidates submitted applications for the opening. A committee of nine staff members conducted a first round of interviews with eight of the candidates the week of May 13. Second interviews with three of the candidates were set for May 20.
The board will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. May 28 to approve the hiring of a new principal. The meeting will take place in the board meeting room at the elementary.
Other district news
The board approved several administrative contracts, including a two-year contract for Brandon Wright as athletic director. Wright has served as interim athletic director since March of this year.
Breakfast and lunch prices for all grades are going up by 10 cents next year. The new prices are: $1.25 for breakfast and $2.75 for lunch for grades K-6; $1.45 for breakfast and $3 for lunch for grades 7-12.
Boys’ soccer will be a varsity sport for 2019-20. Eisler reported that 22 boys have expressed interest in playing.
Several students and student groups were recognized for special achievements.
The junior high boys’ track team placed first in the North division of the Ohio Heritage Conference and second overall across both divisions of the conference.
The high school concert band earned a superior rating at the Ohio Music Education Association’s state competition.
Two high school students excelled on the national French exam. Senior Alexa Freier placed 15th out of 17,200 students in Level 2-A. Freshman Owen Blunt placed 19th out of 17,617 students in Level 1-A.
The board recognized French teacher Beatrice Omwomo as the district staff person of the month.
The board’s next regular meeting is set for 6 p.m. June 18 in the board meeting room at the elementary. A facilities assessment presentation will be part of this meeting.