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.

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