West Jeff school officials discuss hiring process

(Posted July 21, 2016)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

Finding the right candidate—even in a market filled with job seekers—can sometimes take time and a good deal of effort on behalf of employers such as Jefferson Local Schools.

School board members recently approved a one-year contract with Dana Belcher as a fulltime vehicle mechanic, but not before going through hoops to fill the position, which was first advertised internally.

During the July 18 board meeting, Bob Hiss, director of facilities and transportation, detailed the process of hiring Belcher, who previously worked as a mechanic for Columbus Public Schools and then in a management position with Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA).

The district was required to first advertise the job with local Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) members before posting it in a local paper, which only resulted in three applicants. The position was then advertised in a Columbus publication and on Monster.com.

“We had no additional hits,” reported Hiss in trying to attract a larger pool of applicants.

Hiss said Belcher then walked in with a resumé filled with the type of experience the district was looking for, including master certification in both school bus and auto mechanics and a CDL license.

“We got a whole fleet of buses to work on tomorrow,” Superintendent William Mullett said following the board’s approval of Belcher’s contract.

In other discussion and action, high school Principal David Metz reported on personnel changes facing students when doors open next month.

“June went very smoothly and then we had personnel changes,” Metz said.

Language arts teacher Jeanette Haskins is exchanging classroom duties for the media specialist position for the high school and middle school, which resulted in 19 applications for the vacant teaching slot.

Computer technologies teacher Kenneth Schaefer tendered his resignation, which was quickly filled with the employment of Brooke Simmons, a former Columbus Public Schools instructor, as the high school’s computer/personal finance teacher.

“We’re very fortunate,” said Metz regarding Simmons’ employment. “I think it’s a great opportunity to get someone in here who can enhance the personal finance side.”

Predicting the district’s five-year and year-to-year financial forecasts involves a combination of factors Treasurer Jill Williams uses to balance budgets for 90 pages of budgetary line items.

While unforeseen circumstances do crop up, Williams said she has kept the district compliant and within a 1 percent to 2 percent margin of over $13 million in expected revenue and expenditures.

“Every month, I take the time to see what our trend is,” Williams said. “It’s all subject to change and not an exact science.”

The treasurer said that while insurance went up 2 percent this year, purchased services such as insurance are the hardest expense to predict, given a fluctuating market.

Board member Jerry Doran, who previously noted increases in some of the district’s line items, said it is the board’s job to question financial matters.

“If I don’t understand something, you are not going to get a yes vote from me,” Doran said.

When it came time for board members to approve a fiscal year 2017 certificate of estimated resources and appropriations, it was Jerry Garman casting the lone vote against the certificate.

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