By Matt Clevenger
For Miami Valley Today
CASSTOWN — Miami East schools will offer free lunch for all students in grades K-12 starting on Wednesday, Sept. 23.
“The U.S. department of agriculture is sponsoring this program,” district superintendent Dr. Todd Rappold said during the school board’s regularly scheduled meeting on Monday. “Beginning on Wednesday, all of our students K-12 qualify for a free type ‘A’ plate lunch.”
The program will offer free lunches until Dec. 31; after that students will return to full-pay status unless they have completed the standard free or reduced lunch application. Students are eligible to receive one free tray lunch each day; a la carte items extra meals and extra milks must be paid for by students.
“It should be a benefit to our parents,” Dr. Rappold said. “Knowing that their son or daughter can qualify for a free hot lunch in any of the three buildings may make life just a tad easier for folks.”
In other business, board members also honored district treasurer Lisa Fahncke and the treasurer’s office, which recently received a state award for “Excellence in Financial Reporting.”
“Congratulations to the treasurer’s office and department for the award from the state of Ohio,” board president Mark Iiames said. “That’s quite an accomplishment.”
“That’s totally a group effort,” Fahncke said. “It takes everybody. We appreciate the great staff that we have, and the leadership.”
Fahncke also delivered the monthly treasurer’s report; real estate tax revenues are higher than usual, while state funding has decreased. “The real estate tax is about $123,000,” she said. “Our first collection, which we received in March, was also up about that amount. We averaged between a 6.5 percent and 6.7 percent increase, and that was due to the re-appraisal at the county level.”
“This pretty much concludes that,” she said. “Anything forthcoming will be only new construction, for a couple more years.”
Grant funding is currently much lower than usual, due to reductions in state funding. “We saw a decrease there,” Fahncke said. “We’ll continue to see that because of the cut at the state level.”
“We know we’ll at least be cut $280,000,” she said, “because that was what the state implemented as a cut at the end of last year, and that was going to follow through to this year.”
“So far, no news of anymore cuts,” Fahncke said, “but we don’t know that for sure.”
Board members also announced a slight revision to the district’s hybrid model, which was tested the first week students returned to school.
“We had half the kids in alternating days to begin the school year,” Dr. Rappold said. “We’re very appreciative; we walked our staff, students, parents and everybody through the process. “
“Having done that, we’ve now gone back and looked at the alphabet,” he said. “In the event that the district would have to transition back to the hybrid model, we’ve tweaked the last names a couple of letters; A-J and K-Z, just to try to continue to keep that 50 percent in each classroom.”
“In the event that Miami County were to transition to the red designation, we would go to a hybrid schedule using those letters,” Dr. Rappold said. “It probably impacts about 40 families across the district. Siblings would still follow the last name of the oldest sibling in the household.”
Board members went on to approve the employment of high school custodian Cameron Godsey, Spanish tutor Adam Bell and special education tutor Cyndi Rose, as well as several memorandums of understanding (MOU) with the Miami East Education Association regarding e-calamity days. Board members also approved a MOU on earlier reporting times for staff at the high school, junior high and elementary.
“We have been encouraging parents; they can start dropping kids off at the elementary, junior high and high school beginning at 7:05 a.m.,” Dr. Rappold said. “I’ve seen more and more parents taking advantage of that.”
“The two MOU’s that we did with the education association allow us to kind of re-adjust the times at the high school and junior high to make sure we have staff members in both buildings,” he said.
Board members also approved a separate memo of understanding with the Miami East Education Association to change the stipend period for waiver insurance from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 to Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. Board members next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, at Miami East High School.