School Board News
By Tina Bosse
(5-19-15) The Hamilton school board met in regular session May 11th with an executive session held just prior to the public meeting and another executive session following.
Superintendent Jon Willman reported a 97% pass rate on the IREAD test, with only one student unable to pass. Willman anticipates a 100% pass rate after the retesting opportunity. “We are providing great opportunities for kids,” stated Willman, continuing with “(I) hope that the state scores will reflect that this year.” T
he 12% cut in state funding for the 2016-17 school year was not addressed during the board meeting. This cut represents a decrease in funding exceeding $330,000. Willman advised that the general fund tax referendum passed in 2012 will assist in sustaining the corporation. “Fortunately, we are in good shape,” stated Willman, who advised cuts would not be necessary.
Athletic director Jesse Webb advised he is trying to grow the athletic schedule to include teams more comparable in size with Hamilton athletic teams. Webb reported that he has already filled next year’s softball schedule with new teams, such as Hicksville and Montpelier, Ohio.
“We have very young student athletes, and they improve every day,” advised Webb. “As we tell them, ‘The sky’s the limit; the future is bright.’ We just have to get them to buy into that every day.” Webb stated he has started soccer signups and already has 15 students on the list.
Webb updated the board on a letter that was sent to grades 4-6 regarding a youth football program that would be paid for by grant monies. Of the letters returned, 64% indicated interest in the program.
The baton competition that was held at the school brought in $3300 with half as many entries as previous years, reported Webb, who advised that $2800 of the funds would be used to purchase new uniforms for girl’s volleyball and basketball.
High school principal Tim Holcomb invited the board to attend the senior breakfast to be held at Roger’s Harvest House on June 3rd. “We’ve been working very hard to make sure everybody walks, and as of today, that’s where we are,” reported Holcomb. “We’ve got a great bunch of kids here. You ought to be proud of what you have,” he stated to the board.
Business manager Mark Skinner reported that the $1.5 million needed to proceed with Phase II of the improvements would need to be approved. Replacement of the boiler system is progressing, with the asbestos test returning as negative.
Ben Rice was approved as varsity softball coach at $1,252.80, and Minde Raney as assistant varsity softball/assistant track coach at $1,169.00. Employment of summer school bus driver, teachers, and maintenance workers were also approved. The resignation of Jerry Shull, director of maintenance, was approved effective May 12.
John Dutton was approved as transportation director for the 2015-16 school year at $15/hour, with the cost of administrative single health insurance plan provided. Dutton advised the purchase of a regular bus and mini bus were being pursued.
Acceptance of the following donations was approved: $250, Garrett State Bank, and $8.50, Tim Thober’s 5th grade class, to “Project Playground;” $500, Schust Mechanical Systems, LLC, and $100, Carper-Koeppe Insurance, Inc., to Hamilton Marines baseball team; and $10, Cole and Kristy Chipman, to the Elementary Library book fair jar. The board expressed their thanks to the generous donations of all.