ME seeks substitute staff

By Matt Clevenger

For the Miami Valley Today

CASSTOWN — The Miami East Local School District is hiring, seeking substitute bus drivers, custodians, classroom aides and teachers who can be available on an as-needed basis.

“We cannot have enough hands on deck right now,” district superintendent Dr. Todd Rappold said during the Miami East Board of Education’s regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Nov. 16. “If you’re home and looking for something to fill your time between the hours of 7:30 am and 2:30 pm, I’m sure we can find a job for you.”

“We’re very appreciative of folks,” Dr. Rappold said. “We’ve never had enough substitute teachers in the past, and it’s even more precarious right now.”

Anyone interested in applying for the positions is asked to contact Dr. Rappold by email at trappold@ miamieast.k12.oh.us or by calling (937) 335-7505, Ext 1124.

In other business, board members also heard an update on the district’s five-year financial forecast.

“In the current fiscal year we’ve seen the reduction at the state level, which is about $280,000,” district treasurer Lisa Fahncke said. “But we have seen some increase in the income tax line-item so far. Generally at this time, materials and supplies are running about $70,000 less than what they are right now; the reason is that we’ve had a lot of COVID expenditures.”

“It depends on the needs for PPE as well as sanitizing items,” Fahncke said. “Also the purchase service line item we bumped up considerably, and that’s to cover things like our online services that we’re purchasing for those students who wish to do online courses, as well as some other COVID-related items.”

“We’re still in the black for the year,” she said. “I always conservatively state the revenue as well as the expenditures, so I’m sure at year end we’ll finish much better than what the forecast looks right now. But with the uncertainty of COVID, you’ll see those line items bumped up for that purpose.”

“We haven’t heard anything about any further cuts for the year,” she said, “but that’s hard to predict. Last year it came suddenly at the onset of COVID, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Board members also heard reports on the FFA National Convention, which was held virtually this year for the first time ever due to COVID-19. The Miami East-MVCTC FFA Chapter received a Three-Star National Chapter Award, the highest award bestowed on an FFA chapter. Michael Bair was named a National Proficiency Winner in the area of Poultry Production. Miami East graduates Liza Bair, Kylie Blair and Zach Kronenberger received the American FFA Degree.

“We had a virtual FFA convention,” Dr. Rappold said. “Kids sat socially-distanced in the bleachers, and they got to see the FFA get recognized.”

Board members also heard an update on an order of new Google Chromebooks for the district, and expressed appreciation for a recent grant that was used to re-paint portions of several school buildings.

“We ordered a large shipment of Chromebooks at the end of July,” Dr. Rappold said. “We were promised we’d have them before the start of school, then we were promised we’d have them before the end of the first quarter, and then we were promised we’d have them before Christmas. They think it’s now going to be sometime in early 2021.”

“We’d like to thank True Value in Troy,” Dr. Rappold said. “They were instrumental in getting us a grant this summer, which we took advantage of and did some painting throughout the district. They are just fantastic to work with.”

Board members also discussed the district’s options for re-opening if the county remains at current COVID-19 threat levels.

“We’ve had more individuals who have been quarantined and tested just in the last 10 days then we had during the entire month of October,” Dr. Rappold said.

“We will continue working with the county health department,” Dr. Rappold said. “The county color-coding will not be our sole determining factor moving forward.”

“Right now, it does allow us to space kids out, so if we do have a positive case the hope is we’d only be sending one student home instead of 20 students,” he said.

The district has been working with experts from Wight State University to help find additional criteria for when the district can safely conduct classes in-person.

“I can envision having another indicator that would allow us to transition back into full, even if Miami County is in the red,” Dr. Rappold said. “They do track positive cases by zip code; our challenge is that we have so many individuals with Troy and Piqua zip codes.”

For now, the district will continue to follow the designated county threat levels.

“I think it would be more frustrating to constantly be changing our plans,” Dr. Rappold said. “We’re going to stay consistent with this plan for at least the next couple of weeks, as we look and work with the health department to try and find another indicator, just to make sure our staff, students and parents are safe sending their kids to school.”

Board members scheduled their annual re-organizational meeting and alternative budget document review for Monday, Jan. 11. The board of education’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21.