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Poland Board of Ed discusses realignment

April 1, 2020
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

The Poland Board of Education met for a regular meeting on March 23 where Board members discussed the school's realignment, combining two key positions and got an update on Forging the Bulldog's Future. The meeting was held in the Poland Seminary High School auditorium where the requested distancing between board members was observed. The meeting was also live-streamed through Vimeo with 46 people who joined in the live session.

One of the top discussions of the evening involved the school district's restructuring to better handle the shrinking student population. Superintendent David Janofa explained the realignment that will see the K-3 grades at McKinley, grades 4-6 at the present middle school and grades 7-12 at the high school.

"The seventh and eighth grades will have their own section of the high school," he told board members. "We are not thinking of grades seven and eight as high schoolers though. We are doing all we can to give them a building of their own, within a building."

He said under the plan, busing will return to the high school, but the drop off for students will be separated. The 7and 8 grade bus riders will be dropped at their own entrance and the high school (9-12) will be dropped at a different door.

Janofa said having grades 7-12 in one building is nothing new. Several nearby districts are already using that format.

Following Janofa's presentation, the board unanimously approved the realignment plan which will take place next summer. Preparations for the move will happen over the coming school year.

Another type of realignment involved two key positions in the district. On the agenda was an item that would allow Janofa to combine the positions of Transportation Coordinator with Director of Operations and post the new position immediately. Janofa said both individuals in the two positions had retired.

"In the past, the transportation director [position] had to have a CDL (Commercial Driver's License required to drive a bus), but this job has changed a little and we don't want to eliminate quality people who may not have one," said board member Dr. Larry Dinopoulos.

Janofa said it could be stated in the job description that a qualified person could be hired with the knowledge that a CDL would have to be obtained within a certain amount of time. He also spoke on the monetary compensation of the position.

"The transportation director was at $50,000 and the Director of Operations was at $30,000," Janofa said. "But combining salaries to $80,000 would be way out of line. We need to fit the package with the experience, background, and certifications."

The board approved posting the position with items discussed.

An open enrollment policy was also on the agenda. It plainly stated that Poland School District is not open enrollment and will only accept students from adjacent or other districts as long as full tuition is paid. Janofa said this is a requirement of the Ohio Revised Code that allows students to attend other districts as long as the full year's tuition is paid. He said in Poland, the tuition is a little over $8,400 and the district does have two students enrolled this year.

On a different matter, Treasurer Janet Muntean got approval from the board to move to a consent agenda platform for future board meetings. She said the move would save a lot of time and would allow the board to have more student recognitions each month.

Muntean also mentioned the tax levies the district is working under. She said the district is paying the bills with the same levies that were passed eight years ago.

"We are able to pay the bills today, even with inflation, using the same monies we had eight years ago," she said. "As a community, we should be made aware of this."

In other business:

Approval was given to hire Shannon Weimer as a long term substitute for Holy Family School effective Feb. 24, 2020.

The board approved PSHS student Christopher Olsen to be placed on the approved substitute list as a student substitute Porter for the 2019-2020 school year.

Approval was given to declare March 13 as a waiver day for staff and students as the district prepared for closure.

Board member Larry Warren was appointed as communication liaison for calendar year 2020.

The Board approved the "Forging the Bulldog's Future" Five Year Visionary District Plan approved on March 25, 2019. This year's resolution was reaffirming the plan with several key items to be addressed including re-engaging the Strategic Planning Committee in its entirety, exploring communication measures, conducting a board retreat, scheduling a Board meet and greet, and sharing the plan of relocating students. Janofa said any meetings may have to be run by digital streaming like the Board of Education meetings in light of the COVID-19 situation.



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