H-L VoAg program tops meeting

BASCOM – Hopewell-Loudon Board of Education heard comments from the public during the first meeting in the conference room of the new school Wednesday night.

Chris Daniel as a community member shared concerns about cuts to the Vocational Agriculture department. He questioned if the $20,000 savings was worth reducing the program.

Betsy Shellhammer, a graduate of Hopewell-Loudon, questioned eliminating courses for mainstream students. Shellhammer testified as to how the VoAg program had been important to her career.

Superintendent Nicole Jiran said the district has no intention of getting rid of the VoAg program. She said the VoAg teacher has averaged 60 students over the past seven years, and the board couldn’t justify continuing the full-time VoAg position. At a previous meeting, the instructor for the program had hours reduced to four classes.

The typical teacher’s student load in the district is 150 students. Jiran said other courses have been eliminated because students didn’t register for classes.

Jiran reported on the June 8 school auction and presale of used furnishing in the old building generated $58,911. These funds are required to be directed to the district’s permanent improvement account.

Duane King, representing the Bascom Lions, shared plans for the heritage monument that is to feature the old school bells.

Elementary principal Jennifer Losey reviewed changes to the student/parent handbook. Most changes reflect differences in the new building.

In personnel matters, the board accepted the resignations of Tracie Herr and Joseph Stevens. Approval was granted for supplemental contracts and unpaid volunteers.

A donation from the H-L Athletic Boosters for reconditioning of football equipment was accepted.

State law is requiring a 4 percent increase over the next several years in teacher contributions to State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio. An amendment to the master agreement was approved to allow for this change.

The board is to meet July 10. A special meeting may be needed to address staffing issues.