Harrison Hills hears financial forecast

CADIZ – A five-year financial forecast was laid out at the Harrison Hills City School District Board of Education meeting on Thursday. Treasurer Roxanne Harding revealed that spending is predicted to exceed revenue in fiscal year 2017. The budget was affected in years 2012 and 2013 by state and federal funding cuts. The district is also still feeling the impact from tangible personal property cuts that occurred in the past two years.

However, the state of Ohio is still the biggest financial support for the district, followed by income tax. Local funding is increasing thanks to new industry developments. Property values must increase due to natural gas and fracking and pipelines, and we are watching carefully to ensure we collect what we are supposed to,” Harding said in her report.

Harding also revealed that wages and benefits account for 64 percent of the general fund expenditures. She said the district is in better financial conditions than the past. The school has not passed any levies since 1991, before the county consolidation.

“In short term, we’ll continue to operate conservatively but keep a close eye on our energy developments and monitor our tax revenues,” Harding said. “We believe that the energy developments will allow us not have to go out to seek any additional general fund revenue.”

The treasurer’s report was approved, and the board moved on to hear from Middle School Principal Ken Parker and seventh/eighth grade science teacher Nick Miller concerning a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) course. This year, 27 eighth graders took a STEM science class. The curriculum has been catching on at many school districts nationwide, but Parker said Harrison Hills was one of the first local districts to implement it. “I have been very impressed with the class projects,” he stated. “Student feedback has been very positive.” Miller displayed a slideshow of projects that students completed throughout the school year, which included windmills and scaled models of stadiums. Learning about wind energy was a large part of this year’s course.

Miller recently submitted a proposal to Chevron Gas and was awarded $3,000. The funding will help with supplies for next year’s STEM course, which will feature robotics.

“[The students] have to be ready for this new world,” Miller said, adding that students will need to be able to solve problems using critical thinking skills, which STEM curriculum works to develop.

Superintendent Dana Snider reported that the district will have a booth set up at the Harrison County Fair from July 1-5 to display curriculum and events happening in the classroom. Snider said they are trying to ensure the booth becomes an annual display, and asked that any board members interested in manning the booth contact her. The board went into executive session to discuss employment. Afterward, the following approvals were made regarding personnel: – Ashleigh Johnson for PreK at Harrison North, Ashley Jacobsen for first grade at Harrison North, Franci Doty for second grade at Harrison East, Orion Benegier for fourth grade at Harrison East, Tina Coffman for PreK at Harrison East, Marsha Coulson for PreK Aide at Harrison East, Dolly Hennis for MH Aide at Harrison Central Jr./Sr. High School and Caitlin Noble for first grade at Harrison East.

– Supplemental positions including Ronald Scott Ward for Varsity Girls’ Soccer, Eric Sheets for Varsity Boys’ Soccer, Heath Starr for Varsity Boys’ Soccer Assistant, Linda Erbacher for Academic Challenge and Judy May for OVLA Math 7-12.

– Volunteers including Rob Copeland, Nick Bickar, Ian Watt, Willie Walker and Bryan Mays as Varsity Football Assistants.

– Summer staff including DJ Butler for Social Studies, OGT Summer Remediation Program, Mike Valesko for Math/OGT Summer Remediation Program, Stephanie McKinney for Third Grade Reading Remediation (Harrison East), Lou Ann Demas for Third Grade Reading Remediation (Harrison North), Rick Swayne for summer bus garage helper and Drew Horn for summer IT helper.

– Summer School Enrichment Program staff including Gale Zook as bus driver, Rich McKinney, Lisa Marshall and Rob Richards as MH teachers and Lisa Zitko as speech teacher.

The board also accepted a resignation from Melissa Owens, effective August 1. Open enrollment applications were accepted from Micayla Shreffler and Logan Shreffler from Conotton Valley to Harrison North. The board voted to terminate the existing contract of Donald Madzia as Dean of Students, to be employed as Assistant Elementary Principal at Harrison East for four days per week and Harrison North for one day per week, with an additional duty as Preschool Director beginning August 1 through July 31, 2016. Justin Clifford’s contract as Dean of Students was also terminated, as he will be employed as Assistant Principal at the Jr./Sr. High School, with the additional duty of Student Services Director beginning August 1 through July 31, 2016.

The Harrison Hills Board of Education meets the fourth Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. at the administrative office on Peppard Avenue in Cadiz.

Warner may be reached at mwarner@timesleaderonline.com.