Bethel Local School District is pleased to announce it has received an $8,500.00 STEM grant from the Toshiba America Foundation. Awarded to one of Bethel’s newest science teachers, Mrs. Stormy Milewski, these funds will support a cross-curricular project-based learning unit involving Environmental Science, Human Anatomy and Chemistry at Bethel High School in Tipp City, Ohio.

This PBL unit, titled “Pollution and Waste Management” will incorporate the work of multiple classes in the science department. The objective for this project is to determine the pollution sources and consequences of said pollutants in the Bethel and Huber Heights communities, and formulate environmental friendly solutions that the community can use.

Ginny Potter, Superintendent of Bethel Local Schools excitedly commented, “It’s great to see Mrs. Milewski create projects that require students to think ‘outside the box’ and create solutions for pollution management in our local areas. This makes learning relevant and beneficial for both students and the community!”

Toshiba America Foundation’s grants fund projects designed by individual classroom teachers. This direct-to-teacher approach brings immediate results. Mrs. Milewski while be able to change the way she teaches Science because the grant supports 21st Century Learning involving hands-on experiments and inquiry-based approaches. Grants like these make the classroom a more exciting place for both teachers and students.

Founded in 1990 with support from Toshiba Corporation and the Toshiba American Group Companies, Toshiba America Foundation (TAF) is a non-profit grant making organization dedicated to helping classroom teachers make STEM learning fun and successful for K to 12 students in U.S. schools. TAF grants support public and nonprofit private schools through the United States. For more information, please visit: www.toshiba.com/taf

The contested race for three seats on the Bethel Local Schools Board of Education drew eight candidates, the most for any race in Miami County this fall.

Seven of the eight participated in a candidate night in late September and all candidates subsequently were asked to answer the same series of questions including how voters if interested could obtain more information on them and their campaigns.

From those questionnaires and the candidate night, the following profiles were developed.

Danny F. Elam Jr.

Elam, 62, is a graduate of Bethel Local High School and Morehead State University. He has no prior political experience and retired after 29 years teaching in the district.

More information on campaign: On a Facebook page and on the Carriage Trails website.

Why are you running?

“Having experienced the tension between staff and administration before I retired, I hope to improve overall staff/administration relations. I also will work for better communication with the community and for better use of district funds.”

Elam said he believes he is qualified for the position due to his experience as an educator, working with booster groups and his involvement in the 2012 fundraiser to remodel the school auditorium. As a board member, he would work on problems such as pay to play, “extravagant” board spending, poor transparency at meetings and teacher negotiations. “I feel I can work in all aspects of public education,” Elam said.

List top issues facing board/how would address:

Lack of a teacher contract: “I will work toward equity questions in a new contract.”

Poor priorities in board spending: “All buildings and grounds questions cannot be addressed at the same time. We must take care of the people inside the building.”

Poor communication with the community: “I will give straight answers to community questions instead of dancing around the issues.”

Jennifer Evans

Evans, 42, is a graduate of Wright State University and The University of Dayton who teaches elementary school at Tecumseh.

More information on campaign: Facebook page Jennifer Evans for Bethel Local School Board or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Why are you running?

“I felt like there needed to be change at Bethel. I have heard about too many issues occurring at the school. There needs to be better communication between the board and the community and improved administration/teacher relationships. The board needs to set fiscal restraints on spending. I feel like I could make positive changes in the system.”

List top issues facing board/how would address:

Budget: “I would look at the item analysis on spending to see if cuts could be made without limiting necessary materials for teachers and students. I would closely monitor spending to restore/repair the old buildings by making sure several bids are considered. I would explore all options to maintain and increase money entering the district.”

Administration/teacher relationships: “I would like to create a liaison committee between the administration and the teachers so they can voice their concerns and issues professionally without retribution. The administration and teachers could work together to solve some of the issues and concerns occurring in the buildings.”

Administration: “I would like to survey the staff yearly in regard to school board members, principals and superintendent. The board needs to make sure the people they hired are treating staff like professionals and completing the tasks they were assigned.”

Pliny Scott Hawthorn

Hawthorn, 53, is a graduate of Wright State University and New Mexico State University. He is a board member.

More information on campaign: For questions, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Why are you running?

“Bethel is the fastest growing school district in Ohio, and is therefore facing many challenges. With this rate of change, experience is needed in the leadership. I have learned a lot in the past 8 years as a board member and in the levy campaigns I participated in before becoming a board member. I believe the kids deserve the strong, experienced leadership and stability that I am able to offer.”

List top issues facing board/how would address:

Finances: “We need to continue to manage the growth and see if/when we will need to build additional space. This requires us to really watch our finances very closely, as we do not have a lot of extra money, and the community feels saturated with current levies.”

Teacher Negotiations: “Bethel has a great staff. However, keep in mind that over 70 percent of our budget goes to staff salaries and benefits, so we have to be very mindful of the impact any agreement will have on the district. We have to find a solution that is reasonable for both parties without relying on additional taxes to fund it.”

Superintendent Longevity: “Long-term leadership is critical to making real advances in academics. The superintendent is committed to stay long enough to complete the tough challenges, be accountable for all facets of her job, and hold others accountable even when that makes her unpopular.”

Chase A. Heck

Heck, 19, is a Bethel High School graduate and a student at Wright State University.

More information on campaign: Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., also Facebook.

Why are you running?

“I want to give back to my community by being the voice our township, teachers and students need on the school board. I often think about all the amazing memories and experiences Bethel Local Schools have given me. Part of who I am today is most certainly because of this amazing school and environment. I want to ensure every student who attends Bethel Schools will have the same amazing memories and experiences I had.”

List top issues facing board/how would address:

Repairing administrative and staff/community relations: “I would propose creating a council made up of one or two board members, teachers from various grade levels, and maybe even a few community members. This council can meet to address concerns and resolve disputes before they turn into bigger problems. I believe this would be a good step to restoring mutual trust and respect between every group within the school district.”

School district financial stability: “I do not wish to be the one to say it, but another levy may be necessary to keep the school operational. I am not familiar with every single aspect of the budget. However, I would start with cutting as many non-essential expenditures as possible. Planned renovations for part of the existing school may have to be put on hold, especially if they are only cosmetic. Fiscal responsibility needs to be combined with practically in order to ensure the monetary stability of the school district.”

Jacob King

King, 43, is fire chief at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

More information on campaign: On Facebook @ Jacob King for Bethel Local School Board of Education

Why are you running?

“I have felt the current school board has not handled the growth, new building project or daily business of district effectively. I feel they have no transparency to spending, decisions being made and violate the Ohio Sunshine Law at most meetings. They have made policies that do not reflect our community needs.”

Top issues facing board/how would address:

Finding resolutions that are amenable for both sides to complete contract negations: “Ensure the discussions are handled with dignity and respect for the teachers. I would have an open mind coming into these discussions, while also understanding the pay inequalities amongst teachers.”

Managing the growth of the district currently and predicted future growth: “Accommodating the teachers with appropriate classroom sizes, looking at open enrollment, efficiently doing the most for the greater need, maximizing available space for classrooms.”

Establishing fiscal responsibility with an anticipated deficit currently projected in the forecasted budget starting in 2019: “Increase transparency to the community on spending, to ensure all members have access to see what their tax dollars are paying for. Stop unneeded spending by not purchasing luxury or items that are used for aesthetics and not for the learning environment. Establish a fiscal financial responsibility policy for the superintendent to maintain, with the board of education to enforce.”

Brian Moore

Moore, 46, has served on the board since 2014 and attended Paul Smiths College and the Rochester Institute of Technology

More information on campaign: Facebook Page: Brian Moore for Bethel School Board, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Why are you running?

“The reason I am running for another term is because we just moved into the new High School that we as a community voted to build and then worked so hard to design and construct. I am proud of what we designed and want to be an active member of the board to continue to our commitment to having a 21st century school for the children.”

Top issues facing board/how would address:

The district has fastest rate of student growth in the state: “We have to first understand the full scope of the growth. Student population has been growing at a rate of 100 to 125 students per year for the last four years and is expected to continue for several more. This is the projections impacting our combined K-12 School structure, which was built to a capacity up to 1,500 students. However, due to the school board’s foresight, we designed the building with some contingencies to adjust for some overcrowding.

How are we going to afford maintaining our aging infrastructure while facing the financial challenges: “We must maintain the old building with property improvement expenses for the repairs while having a project wish list of repurposing parts of our campus such as updating the elementary primary boys’ bathrooms and multipurpose room. This is in addition to working on building reserve funds to afford new structural projects. These would be smaller and more manageable projects.”

Julie Reese

Reese, 57, is a Bethel graduate and graduated from the University of Cincinnati.

More information on campaign: Facebook group “Julie Reese for Bethel Local School Board of Education” (https://www.facebook.com/groups/504836803198628/) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Why are you running?

“I believe change is needed. I went to a BOE meeting and was told that I could not speak that I must attend a private, off-the-record ‘coffee talk’ with the superintendent and/or another BOE member to ask questions or raise a concern. I also was concerned by the absence of a detailed business plan for the building of the new addition and the lack of fiscal transparency. I do not believe we are spending our funds as wisely as we could.”

Top issues facing board/how would address:

Fiscal responsibility/ open communications: “I will prioritize our necessary projects and repairs above ‘wish list’ items. In many cases during recent years, funds were spent on showy, decorative accents rather than needed repairs and projects. I will form a partnership with businesses and volunteers to eliminate pay-for-play fees and to bid on/help fund projects. I propose use of the Ohio Checkbook so spending is transparent. I will invite community input and open debate on all agenda items.”

Growth explosion: “I would develop detailed shortand long-term plans to stay on top of the issues and anticipate them prior to their occurrence – when and for which grades will we need additional teachers; when will the cafeteria require more capacity; when do we need to add classroom space; does our security plan need tweaking due to expansion; at what point will we need additional buses and drivers; etc.”

Joseph G. Solch

Solch, 65, has served 12 years on the school board. He is a graduate of Wright State University.

More information on campaign: A letter from Solch to all Bethel School district households about serious issues involving our schools is available at https://owncloud.solchjg.net/index.php/s/IXgXJacsYiJUkxP

Why are you running?

“As a 36year resident of Bethel Township, my children attended the Bethel School system their entire lives. They received a good education that was a direct result of the efforts made by many previous Board of Education members. I want to continue to participate in the process of helping improve our schools. If re-elected, I will work to see that the school continues to provide the best education possible for the children of the district.”

Top issues facing board/how address:

-Pressure from increased enrollment: “Continued efforts are required to address issues associated with increased enrollment. Even though Bethel Local Schools just opened a new high school addition, projected increases in enrollment will require renovation of older spaces and new construction of additional classrooms.”

Adapting and keeping abreast of technological changes in the educational process: “Schools are facing challenges in adapting to changes in education. Particularly in science and other technology driven areas, development of a strong program in computer technology is a necessity.”

Improving proficiency in State of Ohio mandated tests: “The continually changing state graduation requirements will require altering instruction to improve proficiency scores. Adequate resources must be dedicated for teachers to obtain training and support in order to be able to help students perform well on the constantly changing evaluations.”

At the May 8, 2017 meeting of the Bethel Board of Education (BOE), the board approved an emergency contract with Midwest Maintenance to address much needed building repairs. The BOE dispensed with the bidding process for contracts over $25,000 because of the urgency to begin the repairs. Midwest Maintenance will replace the lentils and cracked masonry and repair the tuck points on the north side of the elementary building to prevent falling limestone masonry from seriously injuring a student. The work will begin as soon as the weather permits.

In other building construction news, Owner’s Representative Joe Hackleroad announced that the addition is complete. Temporary occupancy has been granted. The only work left is what is on the punch list and cleaning. He said, “People can walk through the facility without a hard hat.” He also reported that although the building is complete there is still a lot of work to be accomplished before the start of school next year.

Hackleroad said, “As soon as school is over for the year, work will begin on the front parking lots, the modular classrooms will be removed, the middle school office will be renovated, and the playground will be completely reworked.”

He also added that because of the front parking lot resurfacing, the only entrance to the grounds will be the north entrance; parking and entry into the facility will be through the rear of the building for summer sports programs and staff.

In addition, advertisements for bids for the middle school rework and entrance have been issued. The bids are due by May 24, 2017. He added, “We have been watching the budget closely. We are cutting it close but I am comfortable that we will come in slightly under budget.”

Superintendent Virginia Potter thanked the community for their approval of the two renewal tax levies that were on the May 2, 2017 ballot. She also thanked the Alumni Association for their support by granting six $750 scholarships and one $500 scholarship to this year’s seniors.

Potter announced that enrollment is still around 1318 students with the largest classes of students are 118 students in the first grade and 122 students in the third grade. She added that the kindergarten registration for next year went smoothly with 60 students registered so far. She said, “We expect that number to climb to 100 students before the beginning of the next school year.” She also said that open enrollment is officially closed. They are still taking applications but all new applicants will be placed on a waiting list. As the new year approaches evaluations on enrollment will be based on class sizes for next year.

In addition, Potter noted that currently the district has several posted positions including positions for coaches, a library aide, a third-grade teacher, and bus drivers.

For the Elementary school, Potter announced that the elementary school students raised over $7000 in the annual Read-A-Thon.

Potter also announced that May 11, 2017 through May 17, 2017, Bethel Students will be participating in Service Week. The project for this year is to Fill the Bus with Food Campaign. The students and the entire community are invited to donate nonperishable and canned goods to fill a school bus. The donated food will be donated to Bethel Food Pantry on May 18, 2017. High school students will also participate in service week. On Monday, Javier Sanchez, who is an author, performer, and filmmaker, delivers life building messages while entertaining through comedy, spoken word poetry, and powerful stories from his own life. On Tuesday, the students will have the opportunity to attend a non-profit fair at the school that will expose them to the opportunities available to do volunteer work. On Wednesday, the students will participate in an outreach program during which they will decide where they want to volunteer their time. And on Thursday, the students will spend the day doing some type of community service.

In addition, on May 26, 2017, Tim Knight who co-authored the book Above the Line with Urban Meyers will be at the school. The public is invited to attend. The theme of is talk is Event + Response = Outcome.

During the Public Hearing, Jacob King expressed his concerns that the football and soccer fields are not being mowed. He volunteered to mow the fields. In addition, he questioned the BOEs transparency and the board always favoring the same contractors because of their use of a single contractor and the lack of a bid process for the brick repair on the elementary building.

In addition, Natalie Donahue expressed her concerns regarding whether students and/or teachers were attending school on the makeup snow days. She said, “It is unclear from the postings whether they do or not.” She also said, she had contacted the school office and the person she spoke to was unclear as well.

In addition, Donahue expressed her concern over the change in the athletic fee policy from installment payment plan to a lump sum payment up front. She said, “This is not about a parents’ income. We should consider that the students whose parents can’t afford the $200 or $400 payment might be the most vulnerable and need that sport more than other students. We need to consider alternatives.”

She also expressed her disappointment over the choice of the social studies curriculum. She said, “I am disappointed with the choices and discouraged by the American History texts. There were very few facts and most of the articles were opinions.” She also said that according to the ODE website new guidelines will be available for social studies by June. “Why are we spending the money on a new curriculum when it all could change next year. Please buy enough books. The students don’t have enough, so they can’t take them home to study. This is a total waste of money.”

Furthermore, Rachel Kiplinger provided a list of her concerns. She said, “The agenda wasn’t posted until today and didn’t work when it was posted. Second, the salaries of personnel are not listed. The community deserves to know.” She echoed Donahue’s concerns about the social studies curriculum. She added, “When the school brings in speakers, parents should be notified who the speakers are the topics they will address, so we can monitor student participation.” She also said, “I was told by Potter that the school was not going to project-based learning, but now the teachers have a two-day training session on it.”

In regular business, the BOE approved a transfer of $35,000 from the general fund to the athletic fund. Per Treasurer Randy Bryant, the transfer of funds is from the Pay to Participate Program. When the funds are collected, they are deposited in the general fund and transferred to the athletic fund as budgeted or needed.

The BOE also approved employment and salary increases for certified and classified class for the 2017-2018 school year.

They also approved issuance of diplomas to 81 students who have met or will complete all graduation requirements of the Bethel Local School District and the State of Ohio.

In addition, they approved the 2017-2018 Ohio High School Athletic Association membership and contracts with SOITA for professional development for teachers and Public School Works for 2017-2018.

They also unanimously approved the new Social Studies curriculum for 2017-2018 despite public concerns.

The next Bethel BOE meeting is scheduled for June 9, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.in the school auditorium.

Voters in the Tipp City and Bethel school districts agreed to continue supporting the schools by approving levies in the May 2 primary/special election.

The unofficial totals from the Miami County Board of Elections showed:

Tipp City Exempted Village Schools: 13.9-mill renewal levy:

For: 1,700 or 70.22 percent

Against: 721 or 29.78 percent

Bethel Local Schools Construction Levy Renewal

For: 503 or 60.17 percent

Against: 333 or 39.83 percent

Bethel Local Schools Operating Levy Renewal

For: 493 or 58.9 percent

Against: 344 or 41.10 percent

“This is a great day for our schools and our community. This underscores the value our community puts on education,” said Tipp City schools’ Superintendent Gretta Kumpf

“Once again the Bethel community has stepped up and shown their support for their students, teachers and staff. Providing a quality education for their children has always been one of their highest priorities,” said Virginia “Ginny” Potter, Bethel schools’ superintendent, “These financial resources will enable us to efficiently manage the day-to-day operations of our growing district.”

In Tipp City, the board of education agreed to seek a levy combining two operating levies that expire at year’s end and to seek a longer period of collection from the traditional four or five years to seven years.

Kumpf praised, and thanked, levy co-chairs Jim and Joellen Heatherly and their volunteers for efforts to get the word out about the levy.

The levy will continue to generate $5.6 million annually, the amount generated by two existing levies that expire at year end.

The operating money goes toward levy would pay for items such as teachers, support staff, transportation and general maintenance.

“It is wonderful,” Kumpf said of the positive news election night. “We needed this. We can continue doing great things.”

School leaders and the levy committee emphasized in the campaign that the money would be for operating and not for a new building or a stadium project. The citizens group Tipp Pride is working to raise money privately for a stadium project.

In the Bethel schools, the 7-mill, five-year levy goes for operating. It generates $1,032,718 a year. The 2-mill, five-year request for capital improvements generates $206,160 a year.

Both levies were set to expire in December.

Potter said the capital improvement levy money is earmarked for building repairs and facility needs.

More than $1 million of the renewal money would go to general expenses. Among those expenses are curriculum, transportation, athletics, fine arts and salaries.

“As the superintendent, I am humbled and encouraged by their financial sacrifice and commitment to ensure that Bethel Local Schools is “A Great Place to BEE!” Potter said election night.

‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat’

A burst of diverse music, high-energy dance moves, and vibrant costumes will fill the stage as ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,’ is presented at Bethel on April 6 – 8. A large cast of 28 middle school students and 31 high schoolers are in the entertaining musical.

The production is being directed by student director Adam Clark, a senior, who also fills the role of Pharaoh. With interest in being a director as a career, Clark was allowed the opportunity to direct to gain some experience. “It’s fun to get to tell other people what to do and also to see my visions come to life on stage. It has been a little challenging to control everyone, but that is what you get with middle school and high schoolers. I’m hoping that college students will be more receptive,” he said.

In addition to directing, Clark is also interested in music as he’s been in the choir, marching band, and jazz band all through high school. He is also a member of ‘The Blue Leaf’s,’ a Tipp City based fifties rock band. Clark is able to bring his love of rock and roll to the character of Pharaoh, who embodies the persona of Elvis Presley. “I get to sing my favorite genre of music (rock-n-roll) and got to learn a whole new style of dancing to swivel my hips like Elvis,” he said.

As the director, Clark made the call to add a song that’s in the current touring production of the show, which is sung by the Pharaoh, and to also have him play the guitar.

The title role of Joseph is being played by Zach Moore, a senior, who feels very comfortable with the part as it’s a perfect fit for his range. He has been a part of the high school productions since he was in middle school, and Joseph is among his favorite parts. Moore enjoys being able to entertain others while on stage. “Acting is an escape, you are free from all the rest of the world. You can’t see the audience but just hope that there are smiles on their faces or that they are crying if it’s a dramatic scene,” he said. “You hope they are laughing with you and not at you.”

‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat’ covers a full range of emotions. “Audiences will be surprises with the mix of comedy and sad parts. The music also shifts drastically in both directions,” said Moore.

To explain all of the activity occurring on stage is the Narrator, which will be Mikayla Hoeferlin. A senior, it’s her first leading role after being in shows throughout high school. She is honored and excited to be going out on top. Something that also stands out to Hoeferlin about the show is the wide assortment of music contained within it. “I like all the diversity in the music,” she said. “There’s also a sense of humor to it, it’s pretty funny.”

The cast has put in a lot of time and effort into the production, including a pair of six hour rehearsal days during Spring Break. They are all devoted to creating the best performance possible.

Performances of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,’ are Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8. On Sunday, April 8 there is a special matinee at 2 p.m. for $6 and and a 7 p.m. for $8. All performances are in the auditorium at Bethel.

At the March 13, 2017 meeting of the Bethel Board of Education (BOE), Owner’s Representative Joe Hackleroad reported that the mild weather this winter has helped considerably on the building construction project. He said that the crew is finishing the caulking and pouring concrete. In addition, the air handlers are up and running and they are in the process of being tested. Ninety percent of the flooring is complete and the cabinets and casework are finished. He also reported that 75% of the doors and hardware are finished and the kitchen is almost finished.

He added that the crew is getting ready to pour sidewalks and to complete the exterior work. He noted to the BOE that the goal of having temporary occupancy by April 10, 2017 is on schedule.

He also reported that the bus barn is complete except for the replacement of an overhead door in the existing building. He expects the final walkthrough for the bus barn to be completed on March 17, 2017.

Hackleroad does not have a final date for full occupancy; however, he reassured the BOE that the project is ahead of schedule.

He also cautioned the BOE that there is still a great deal of work to be done to the outside of the building and grounds to be completed during the summer including finishing the sidewalks and parking lots.

Superintendent Virginia Potter reported that the district received a grant from the Tipp Foundation for $2,582 for the Art Department.

In academic news, Potter reported that the staff is reviewing the Social Studies curriculum and that state testing is scheduled for all grade levels during March through May 2017.

She also announced that Open Enrollment Applications will be collected between April 3, 2017 and April 21, 2017. Potter noted that depending on the district enrollment, each grade level would be evaluated for acceptance of open enrollment students. She said, “We hope that we don’t have to turn away students who have been attending Bethel for several years.”

She also said that Kindergarten enrollment is schedule for April 11 and April 12, 2017

Middle School Principal Alexis Dedrick announced that four middle school students went to the state for the Science Fair Competition. She also said that 73 of the 99 students in 8th grade have signed up to go to Washington DC for the 8th Grade Field Trip. She said, “Several of the students will be selected to participate in laying the wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier during the trip. The students have worked hard on their research projects and have competed for this honor.” The final selection for the honor will be made by the 8th grade students and their advisors.

Dedrick also announced that the 8th grade DC trip next year is scheduled for October rather than March to minimize conflicts with state testing that is scheduled in the spring of each year.

Potter announced that the Week of Service is scheduled for May 15 – 19, 2017. The high school students are making plans to support the Junior High School Students in their involvement in the Week of Service. This year the school will sponsor speaker Javier Sanchez on Monday, May 15.2017. Sanchez inspires young adults to develop a vision and a sense of purpose in their lives. The rest of the week emphasized work with nonprofit organization and service projects.

Potter also announced that the district is looking for several teaching and classified positions for next year. She noted that the positions are posted on the school website and the Dayton Area School Employment Consortium

Treasurer Randy Bryant reminded the district residents that the district has two levies on the May 2, 2017 ballot. He said, “These are renewals. No new taxes; however, they are critical to our continued operation as a school district.”

The next meeting of the Bethel BOE is scheduled for April 10, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. in the High School Media Center.

At the March 13, 2017 meeting of the Bethel Board of Education (BOE), Owner’s Representative Joe Hackleroad reported that the mild weather this winter has helped considerably on the building construction project. He said that the crew is finishing the caulking and pouring concrete. In addition, the air handlers are up and running and they are in the process of being tested. Ninety percent of the flooring is complete and the cabinets and casework are finished. He also reported that 75% of the doors and hardware are finished and the kitchen is almost finished.

He added that the crew is getting ready to pour sidewalks and to complete the exterior work. He noted to the BOE that the goal of having temporary occupancy by April 10, 2017 is on schedule.

He also reported that the bus barn is complete except for the replacement of an overhead door in the existing building. He expects the final walkthrough for the bus barn to be completed on March 17, 2017.

Hackleroad does not have a final date for full occupancy; however, he reassured the BOE that the project is ahead of schedule.

He also cautioned the BOE that there is still a great deal of work to be done to the outside of the building and grounds to be completed during the summer including finishing the sidewalks and parking lots.

In the Superintendents report, Superintendent Virginia Potter reported that the district received a grant from the Tipp Foundation for $2,582 for the Art Department.

In academic news, Potter reported that the staff is reviewing the Social Studies curriculum and that state testing is scheduled for all grade levels during March through May 2017.

She also announced that Open Enrollment Applications will be collected between April 3, 2017 and April 21, 2017. Potter noted that depending on the district enrollment, each grade level would be evaluated for acceptance of open enrollment students. She said, “We hope that we don’t have to turn away students who have been attending Bethel for several years.”

She also said that Kindergarten enrollment is schedule for April 11 and April 12, 2017

Middle School Principal Alexis Dedrick announced that four middle school students went to the state for the Science Fair Competition. She also said that 73 of the 99 students in 8th grade have signed up to go to Washington DC for the 8th Grade Field Trip. She said, “Several of the students will be selected to participate in laying the wreathe on the tomb of the unknown soldier during the trip. The students have worked hard on their research projects and have competed for this honor.” The final selection for the honor will be made by the 8th grade students and their advisors.

Dedrick also announced that the 8th grade DC trip next year is scheduled for October rather than March to minimize conflicts with state testing that is scheduled in the spring of each year.

Potter announced that the Week of Service is scheduled for May 15 – 19, 2017. The high school students are making plans to support the Junior High School Students in their involvement in the Week of Service. This year the school will sponsor speaker Javier Sanchez on Monday, May 15.2017. Sanchez inspires young adults to develop a vision and a sense of purpose in their lives. The rest of the week emphasis work with nonprofit organization and service projects.

Potter also announced that the district is looking for several teaching and classified positions for next year. She noted that the positions are posted on the school website and the Dayton Area School Employment Consortium

Treasurer Randy Bryant reminded the district residents that the district has two levies on the May 2, 2017 ballot. He said, “These are renewals. No new taxes; however, they are critical to our continued operation as a school district.”

The next meeting of the Bethel BOE is scheduled for April 10, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. is the High School Media Center.

Tyler Spears said he enjoys making and sharing music, a passion that extends to the students he now teaches at the Bethel Local Schools.

Spears joined the district this year as director of instrumental music. He teaches fourth and fifth grade general music and sixth-12th grade band. He works with marching band, jazz band, pep band and musical directing.

A Dayton area native, Spears grew up in New Carlisle and is a 2008 graduate of Tecumseh High School. He holds an associate degree in music education from Sinclair Community College and a bachelor’s degree in music education from Wright State University, graduating in 2014.

Before coming to the Bethel district, he held part-time teaching positions including serving as a long-term substitute band/choir director at Franklin-Monroe schools. In summer 2015, he became part-time co-band director and general music teacher at Tecumseh Middle School. During that same time, he served as percussion tech for the Fairborn High School marching band and director of the indoor drum line program.

“Sharing and making music is something I thoroughly enjoy and sharing that with students is equally rewarding. I really enjoy the learning process specifically as it applies to my subject area,” Spears said.

The band has 65 students who he said love making music. “I am very grateful to have taken over such a successful band program,” he said.

Growing up nearby, he said he was familiar with the Bethel district.

“I love the closeness between the faculty here. There are many benefits of working at a small school. There is a lot of pride here at Bethel and that shows through not only the students, but also the entire community. It makes you really feel valued as a teacher,” Spears said.

“The students here are also very talented and passionate about what they do. It is nice that they have the ability to participate in band/musical as well as sports,” he said. “The community support is outstanding. It allows for many opportunities for the students.”

Outside of the school setting, Spears is an active performer and freelance percussionist. He has played with professional orchestras, swing bands, blues and other cover bands.

On February 9, 2017, Bethel 5th-8th grade students participated in the Miami County Science Fair held at Tipp City High School. Of Bethel's 11 student science projects, 9 received superior ratings and will move on to district science fair held on Saturday, March 11th.

Alaina Yarwick and her science project - which won the Schilling Award for Microbiology

McKenna Gray made basketball practice between judging and the awards ceremony!

Science “sibs” - Bethel 5th grade team of Allison Cartwright and Julie Sebastian were aided by their older sibs 8th graders Adam Cartwright and Lisa Sebastian

Bethel Science teacher Leslie Mosley with her class

At the February 13, 2017 meeting of the Bethel Board of Education (BOE), Owner Representative Joe Hackleroad reported that the renovations to the bus barn are complete except for some exterior trim and gutter work. However, the building is currently being used by the bus maintenance employers for service and maintenance of the district buses.

In addition, Hackleroad reported that the architects are working on the caulking to ensure that the best colors of caulk are used on all of the building exteriors. The emergency generator has been tested and is ready to go.

Hackleroad also reported the kitchen and dining area are about half finished and that the restroom fixtures have been delivered and are in the process of being installed along with the casework and cabinetry. The light fixtures are also being installed.

In addition, all of the mechanic equipment is being fired up and tested. He also said that painting is an ongoing project and will not be completed until the final stages of the construction project. The contractors’ goal is to have the occupancy permit by April 10, 2017.

In addition, Hackleroad noted that once spring arrives the focus will turn to the exterior parking lots and modules. The focus over the summer will be on completing the exterior ground work.

Furthermore, Hackleroad reported that the furniture bids have been received and came in a little under budget. A final decision has not been made on the final furnishings.

He also noted that there are still issues regarding the remodeling of the current elementary office, middle school office and the athletic director’s office back into classrooms. He said, “The remodeling of these areas will be a challenge.”

Superintendent Virginia Potter in her report congratulated the Bethel Boys Basketball Team on the Conference Championship.

Potter also announced that the district will be looking to fill several positions for the 2017/2018 school year due to increased enrollment. These positions include a middle school social studies and math instructor, high school science and chemistry teacher, elementary art teacher, elementary 5th grade teacher, network administrator, and an assistant elementary principal. She noted that current enrollment stands at 1307 with most grade levels exceeding 100 students per class. As a result of the increased enrollment Potter emphasized the importance to the district to pass the two levies on the May ballot. She said that although the state initially awards the district approximately 3 million dollars a year they take back 2.5 million because of money caps imposed on the district. Without the support from the local levies the district will experience severe shortages for funding because of the cap imposed by the state.

In addition, Potter reported that the district has hired a firm to conduct a security assessment to determine district safety. She said, “This is especially important because of the shooting at West Liberty. The company will direct a team that includes law enforcement officers, tactical officers and security specialist to evaluation and provide recommendations to the district to ensure the safety of the district’s students.” She added, “I talked to the superintendent from West Library and he emphasized the importance of ALICE Training.” ALICE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate Training provides preparation and a plan for individuals and organizations to more proactively handle the threat of an aggressive intruder or active shooter event. Potter hopes to have a report and plan for the district by the end of February.

Elementary Principal Jodi Petty announced that the elementary library added 800 new books to its collection. She thanked all of the teachers and volunteers who worked diligently to catalog, process and shelve the new materials for students to use.

In announcements, Potter noted several important dates for the district. Open enrollment packets will be available on March 1, 2017. The packets must be completed by April 21, 2017. In addition, kindergarten registration is scheduled for April 11 – 12, 2017.

For the treasurer’s office, the BOE approved appropriations for digitization for $480 and $1017 from the Bethel Township Historical Society and $1323 for elementary science books from the Tipp City Area Community Foundations.

For the Superintendent, they BOE approved an Open Enrollment Agreement for 2017/2018; however, Potter cautioned that this could change depending on state and local support and budget restrictions based on district enrollment. In addition, the BOE approved the College Cred Plus Agreement with Sinclair for 2017/2018. The district is also working on an agreement with Urbana University although the terms have not yet been finalized.

The next meeting of the Bethel BOE is scheduled for March 13, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. in the school auditorium.

At the January 9, 2017 meeting of the Bethel Board of Education (BOE), Treasurer Randy Bryant requested that the BOE approve two resolutions to place two tax levies on the May ballot. The first levy approved is a renewal levy for current operating expenses. According to Bryant, the 7.0 mill five year operating levy generates approximately $1 million per year to cover operating expenses. The second levy approved by the board is a two-mill five-year levy for permanent improvements, which generates approximately $200,000 per year to cover facilities improvements.

In addition, the Board conducted their annual organizational meeting. In the meeting, the BOE elected Scott Hawthorn, President and Brian Moore Vice President. In addition, they set the date and time for the monthly board meetings for the second Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. unless otherwise publicized.

In addition, Superintendent Virginia Potter recognized the board members for their years of service to the school and the community. She said, “It has been a real privilege to work with the Board members. Although we may not always agree, I appreciate the exchange of ideas.” She recognized Board Members Joe Solch for 12 years, Scott Hawthorn for eight years, Brian Moore for three years, and Lori Sebastion and Todd Wright for one year of service.

The BOE also approved the following board members to service on the standing committees Hawthorn, OSBA Legislature Liaison; Wright, Athletic Council; Solch, Curriculum and Instruction; Moore, Technology; and Sebastian, CTC and Grant Writing

In their regular meeting, Joe Hackleroad reported on the new school construction project. After giving a tour to the board members of the new facility prior to the meeting, he reported that the construction crew is working on the flooring, tile and grouting and installing the kitchen components. He also reported that permanent power has been installed and the crews are testing the system to ensure that everything is working properly. The plumbing fixtures are in route and installation will begin as soon as they arrive.

He also stated that the addition to the bus barn should be completed and ready to use this week. In addition, he noted that he would meet with an environmental consultant on January 16, 2017 to discuss upgrades to the old building to upgrade the elementary office and entranceways. The primary concern for any upgrade to the old building is asbestos abatement and how to address any unexpected issues that might arise because of improving an old facility.

For High School Principal Craig Vasil, the BOE approved a resolution to waive graduation requirements for Economics and Computer Technology courses for students graduating in 2017 and 2018 and to replace these courses with comparable course credits. They also approved the 2017-2018 Course of Study as proposed by Vasil.

Finally, the BOE approved a contract with Reliable Electrical Mechanical Services for $112,849 to provide a back-up boiler replacement for the school.

The next meeting of the Bethel BOE is scheduled for February 13, 2017 at 700 p.m. in the Elementary Auditorium.

SENIORS:

Nate Rimkus/Erica Turner

Ian Anderson/Kelsey Hackney

Tyler Terry/Shelbi Ross

Christian White/Kayla Grable

Noah Burrowes/Mady VanHoose

FRESHMAN ATTENDANTS:

Faith Pike/Dillon Kelley

SOPHOMORE ATTENDANTS:

Brodi Voight/Micah Mutlu

JUNIOR ATTENDANTS:

Maggie Kahler/Daniel Ross

King and queen will be crowned October 7th against Twin Valley South.