Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Residents: Give your two cents' worth

Marion Local to create task force

By Tom Millhouse
MARIA STEIN - Marion Local Schools district residents are asked to consider joining a task force to provide input on a possible building project to meet rising student enrollment.
"The district is assessing a master plan that currently includes classrooms, gymnasium, agriculture education suite, commons area, locker rooms, weight room and administration offices to support students occupying the building," said superintendent Mike Pohlman at Monday night's regular board meeting.
Community members interested in being part of the task force can contact him by calling 419-925-4294 or emailing pohlmanm@marionlocal.org.
Board president Randy Bruns expressed hope that residents will come forward to join the task force.
"We want to get as much input as possible," Bruns said.
Board member Phil Moeller said a four-classroom addition was completed this school year to meet an increase in kindergarten enrollment, but noted that trend is expected to persist.
"We're excited about increased enrollment, but it presents challenges," Moeller said.
"We need to get ahead of this," added board member Jesse Rose.
The lack of gym space has resulted in teams practicing as late as 10 p.m., noted board member Shannon Everman.
School officials have been working with Garmann Miller Architects-Engineers of Minister to create a master plan to address building space needs.
Board members on Monday night also accepted the resignation of Amanda Wendel as teacher, part-time elementary school assistant principal and co-junior high school student council adviser at the end of the school year contingent upon her being hired by St. Marys City Schools.
Andy Wilker, treasurer of St. Mary City Schools, said the school board is expected to act on her hiring as intermediate school principal at its meeting on Wednesday night.
Resignations were also accepted from Erica Ranly as head junior high volleyball coach, Ben Salazar as head junior high girls basketball coach, Paula Hemmelgarn as freshman class adviser and longtime school bus driver John Bruns, who is retiring at the end of this school year.
In other personnel issues, the board approved the hiring of Sophia Hoelscher as ag teacher, authorized extended service days for several employees, and approved summer basketball, football and volleyball camps, camp advisers and volunteers. The board approved payment to Becky Bruns for operating the track timing system at a rate of $125 per meet.
Board members also,
• approved a resolution of necessity to renew an emergency levy for operating expenses. Treasurer Amy Reineke said she will submit the issue to the Mercer County Auditor's Officer to make a determination of the millage of the levy, which is now 8.78-mills. After the millage is set, the board must pass a resolution to place the levy on the Nov. 8 ballot.
• approved a revised five-year financial forecast prepared by Reineke. She noted the forecast contains only minor changes from the document approved in November. She said the net cumulative cash change in the forecast was a 0.62% increase.
• learned 70 seniors are scheduled to graduate during ceremonies at 1 p.m. May 22. Pohlman reported the last day of classes will be May 25.
• heard high school principal Tim Goodwin commend Amanda Homan and Amber Wendel for earning state FFA degrees, congratulate Kevin Partington and Olivia DeMange for being named prom king and queen and praise all involved in the successful production of "Shrek, the Musical."
• learned from elementary school principal Nick Wilker that the school's Hope Squad, a group of students trained to be alert to signs of student distress in hopes of preventing student suicide, will mark Hope Week next week with fun dress-up days.
• approved payment of $50 to each employee who completes the wellness initiative program during the 2022-2023 school year by meeting certain health initiatives.
• approved student handbooks with minor changes.
• approved a $2,000 donation from the Mercer County Civic Foundation for the school library and an anonymous $400 donation to the drama club.
• approved a resolution that the district will not offer middle school career technical programming for the seventh grade due to funding and space limitations and time constraints but will have the programming for the eighth grade.
• heard technology coordinator Michelle Mescher report she is continuing to revamp the district website and expects it to be completed this summer.
• went into executive session to discuss employment of a public employee. No action was taken after the hourlong session.
The next board meeting is 7 p.m. June 13 in the board conference room in the elementary school.
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