Board talks nurses, updates

TIPP CITY — On Monday, the Tipp City Board of Education held a discussion of the clinic aide position at Nevin Coppock Elementary, which is currently vacant. During public comment, local residents submitted letters with concerns about that position being unfilled.

Superintendent Mark Stefanik said the previous clinic aide’s resignation was finalized in June. He said he made the assumption that, since the position was not on the spring reduction list, he believed the district would seek to refill it. He said he then heard from other people that the position was part of the reduction discussion, so on Monday, he was seeking direction from the board on whether or not the board wanted to refill the position. Stefanik added later that there had been a posting for the position and some of the applicants had already been interviewed for the position.

“I think we absolutely need to refill this position,” board member Simon Patry said.

Board member Corine Doll said she did not want to have this discussion “until we can find out how this discussion has already happened without us.”

Patry said he did not disagree but he wanted the district to focus on finding a clinic aide for Nevin Coppock.

“Right now, we have a school that needs a clinic aide,” Patry said.

Board President Theresa Dunaway asked why the number of nurses for the district has increased over the past few years with the student population decreasing.

“How did we go from two to five with less students?” Dunaway asked.

Board member Joellen Heatherly said it was due to the medical needs in students increasing.

Assistant Superintendent Steve Verhoff said, a year ago, the school nurses presented him with information that an additional nurse aide was needed, making it so a nurse aide was at each building.

Dunaway said there was a lack of data to show whether or not the position was needed or if it needed to be part-time.

Patry later made a motion to resume the search of filling the Nevin Coppock nurse aide position. Patry and Heatherly voted in favor of it. Doll, Dunaway, and board member Anne Zakkour abstained from voting.

Earlier in the meeting, Stefanik gave an update to the district’s restart plan, saying the schools are doing virtual open houses and some individual, one-on-one meetings with teachers. The district is also planning to utilize a color flow chart provided by Dayton Children’s Hospital to determine how to address students with possible COVID-19 symptoms.

“This has been highlighted by several groups across the state,” Stefanik said. He said the chart recommends leaving it up the child’s healthcare provider to make the determination when the student is fit to come back to school. The board discussed inconveniences and cost burdens to families.

Verhoff then updated the board on the district’s AP scores, saying 170 students took AP tests and received an average score of over a 3. AP tests are scored on a scale of 1-5. Colleges will typically accept a score of 3 or higher as a replacement credit, Verhoff said.

“We’re very proud of our teachers’ and students’ efforts,” Verhoff said. “We’re still above the Ohio average. We still above the global average. All of them took a dip this spring with the situation with COVID.”

The board also approved a partnership with New Creations Counseling Center, Tipp City, as the district’s preferred mental health agency, for the 2020-2021 school year at a cost of $53,500, payable in three installments. This contract is being funded by state grant funding.

During the discussion, Zakkour said she had submitted questions regarding this contract that were not answered. Zakkour specifically mentioned not seeing data in terms of outcomes from the contract.

“For the next year, I would expect to see more definitive data in terms of outcomes,” Zakkour said. She said she would vote against the contract next year if there was no data on outcomes from students’ use of the mental health services.

The board also approved permanent appropriations for the district for fiscal year 2021. The appropriations total approximately $36,267,293.

The board approved re-employing the following as classified staff for the 2020-2021 school year: Kyle Corbin, Sylvia Eldridge, Hunter Folkertsma, Melissa Lange, Tracy Light, Carrie Robbins, and David Staub. Heatherly, Patry, and Zakkour voted in favor of this item. Doll and Dunaway abstained from voting. Stefanik said the number of aides they re-hired were dependent on students’ Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). Doll discussed other positions she would like to see created at the district.

At the end of its meeting, the board held the second reading of and approved a new policy requiring the use of protective facial coverings during pandemic/epidemic events. This policy would be implemented by the superintendent in alignment with guidance from public health officials and/or in accordance with government edicts. Heatherly, Doll, Dunaway, and Patry voted in favor of the policy. Zakkour voted against it.

The board ended its meeting by going into executive session to consider matters required to be kept confidential by federal law or regulations or state statues.