Tipp BOE discusses library trustees

TIPP CITY — The Tipp City Board of Education continued their discussion on the board’s involvement with appointing library trustees at their Monday meeting.

Much of the discussion centered around how the board wanted to move forward with their role in appointing library trustees to the library board of the Tipp City Public Library, including laying out a clear-cut policy on what the process would be for the board of education when it came time to appoint new trustees. Board member Joellen Heatherly brought up previous board minutes over the years that showed that, while no formal process has been written down and is part of the board’s policy, there was an active process the board participated in.

“We have evidence that we were following a process, previous boards were following a process, we just don’t have it established,” she said. “Moving forward, I would recommend we figure out whatever it is, draft it, and just move forward with that process to continue it the way we’ve done it.”

Part of the conversation included stressing the importance of board involvement due to the fact that not only does the library fall under the board of education, but because the library receives funding from the public, the board of education is financially liable for the library.

“We are the publicly elected people, the five of us, who are on the hook for their money,” Vice President Corine Doll said. “We are an elected body and they have public funds, so they have to be held to an elective body, and that’s why we’re supposed to have the oversight of their library board of trustees, because it’s public funds, which are applied to our school board orders.”

A decision was reached to invite library director Lisa Santucci and a library trustee to the Dec. 8 work session, during which the board will receive input from them and work on drafting a policy. The work session will begin at 6 p.m.

Also discussed at the meeting was the five-year forecast for Tipp City Schools under the treasurer’s report. David Stevens highlighted that the board can continue operating for the next five years with a positive cash balance at the end of each year, but that the unreserved fund balance in June of 2025 is projected to have a cash balance of $267,838, which is considered low compared to 2024’s balance of $4,511,930.

“If we did have a report that did show a negative cash balance at the end of year three, then the state would step in and consider your district in financial distress and they would want to know what steps you’re going to put in place to remove that negative balance. Luckily, we do not have that issue,” Stevens said.

According to Stevens, the board is relying on the current levees in place and is not looking for any new levees from the community. He also said that there is a renewal of an emergency levy that is being projected in 2025 and the board will have a levy expiring Dec. 31, 2024; if it is not renewed, there will be a reduction in revenues.

“With school funding, every little bit counts. We heavily rely on our community to help provide funding for the district,” Stevens said. “Our property taxes are the largest provider of funding for our schools. Over 60 percent of our funding comes from the community, so we definitely appreciate that. We want to do the best that we can with the money that we have been provided for.”

The discussion among board members included highlighting how the pandemic factors into the five-year forecast, and how it affected the previous and current academic years. One of the biggest things affected by the pandemic was interest revenue earned by the district; in 2019 the board was looking at over $400,000 in interest revenue, but this year they are nowhere near that.

“It’s sad, but it’s not just us; it’s the entire country,” Stevens said. “The entire world, in fact, is dealing with this right now.”

The board unanimously approved the five-year forecast.

The board also approved the following supplemental positions:

• Melissa Johnson, Project MORE;

• Joanne Manes, Project MORE;

• Ryan Tremblay, volunteer high school wrestling coach.

The next board of education meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14.