School district borrows for upgrades

by Dave Cary
Review Correspondent

PLYMOUTH - The School Board took its first official act to follow passage of the recent district facilities upgrade referendum Tuesday when it passed a resolution authorizing issuance and sale of a $21.9 million bond anticipation note.

This will allow the district to borrow the total above short-term as a “bridge loan” to let work start soon; money not spent immediately will be invested until needed, and this will increase available funds for various projects called for in the referendum

A companion resolution was also passed which provides criteria under which R.W. Baird & Co. can sell the bonds when market conditions will provide proceeds needed to refund the amount borrowed through the preliminary bonds. This resolution also permits “locking in" of the interest rate. The entire process will last over the next 20 years.

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The board also approved the first reading of three sets of policy updates provided by NEOLA. The actual reading of these updates was waived, and the second reading, which denotes acceptance, will be held next month.

NEOLA is a company started over 40 years ago in northeast Ohio as an educational consulting firm. NEOLA originally offered facilities studies, population projects, curriculum units and staff development but began providing policy service as it became apparent that districts needed help staying on top of new and changing laws and regulations affecting schools. School Board policies ultimately became Neola’s sole focus. Neola now serves over 1,450 clients in six states.

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Ten AFS exchenge students — from Germany, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Turkey and Hong Kong — were presented to the board by director Ann Weeden. Weeden said Plymouth High School probably has more AFS students than most high schools and attributed this to the welcoming spirit in the community.

Asked what things they had been involved in, the students listed swimming, cross country, soccer, musicals, chess, football wrestling, track and field. Asked what stood out as the thing that stood out most, sports, people, friends school in general, educational opportunities and the people of Plymouth were cited. As to favorite foods, peanut butter drew no comment.

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The board approved the 2018-2019 Curriculum Guide, a document that lists all courses taught at PHS. Curriculum Director Dan Mella said new additions to the guide centered around advanced course work in areas such as citizenship, electronics, experimental instrumental music, and music theory.

The board approved the 2018-2019 preliminary budget. Business Director Jon Miller said that, in a remarkable change from previous years, this year the district was looking at a revenue increase of some $616,954 due to changes in state aid and what they will allow low-spending districts to do. This is an increase of 2.38 percent.

This means, he said that this year’s preliminary budget starts with a projected surplus of $376.00 — in contrast to last year’s opening deficit of about one-quarter million.

It is worth mentioning that budget development in school districts is a multi-month process where needed data comes in over time.

One small bit of this was made certain later in the evening when the board approved the bid for servicing of the district’s copy machines. Ross Imaging — who has the current contract — was low bidder by slightly over $1,000, and was again awarded the contract.

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The board accepted the following gifts and donations:

• $478.24 from Horizon PATH for 4K student transportation to the Post Office and for the second grade to visit the Siberian Huskies.

• $285.48 from Parkview PTK for student transportation to visit the Siberian Huskies.

• $850.75 from Fairview PTO for transportation and admission to Maywood Environmental Center’s Sappin’ and Sawin’ program and admission to Camp Y- Koda for the Mammal Outreach Program, and transportation and admission to the Above and Beyond Museum.

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In personnel matters, the board:

• Accepted the retirement request of Diane Rosenbeck, Riverview special education teacher, at the end of the current school year.

• Accepted the resignation of Brianna Kappers, eighth grade teacher at Riverview, effective at the end of the current school year.

• Approved a 100 percent contract for Jenna Edington to teach Family and Consumer Science Economics at Riverview beginning with the 2018- 2019 school year.

• Approved a 100 percent contract for Alexia Piskule to teach STEAM at Riverview beginning with the 2018-2019 school year.

In support staff matters:

• Kathy Payne, special ed aide at PHS, has submitted her retirement notice. She has served the district 14 years.

• Bonnie Jaeger, special ed aide at Riverview, has submitted her resignation notice. She has served the district three years.

• Amanda Hendricks, special ed aide at PHS, has submitted her resignation notice. She has served the district seven months.

• Margie Hoban has been hired at Fairview as a special ed aide.

The board approved an out of state travel request from Rommy Herrera, PHS Spanish teacher, to take students to Costa Rica from July 14, 2019 to July 23, 2019. The trip is in line with school policy and costs will be paid by parents, students and fundraising.

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