Treasurer search, open enrollment dominates work session

TIPP CITY — The Tipp City Board of Education made the decision to hold off on utilizing a consulting firm in their search for a new treasurer at a work session held Tuesday evening.

“At this point, I don’t think we need a consultant. I think we should wait and see how many applicants we get, and if it goes into the third week and we have zero, then we have a problem,” board president Theresa Dunaway said. “I think that we should see how many applicants we get and let that be the deciding factor on if we need a consultant.”

Dunaway added that if the board were to go the consulting route for the treasurer search, the three consulting agencies they would look toward would be K12, Miami County Educational Service Center, and the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA).

The treasurer’s position has been posted in “as many places as possible” according to Dunaway; this includes postings on the Ohio School Board Association’s (OSBA) website, which Dunaway said cost an estimated $250, and BASA, which was free of charge. Since posting the position last Friday, March 5, the school board has currently received one application for the position. If they don’t receive a variety of applications by the next board meeting, the board plans on using a consulting firm to help find potential applicants. The cost range the board is currently looking at in regard to using a firm is anywhere from no nominal costs to $7,000.

“My stance is, we have no idea how many candidates we are going to get. I think it would be in our next board meeting, we would have had the posting up for (…) almost ten full days,” Dunaway said.

Board member Corine Doll brought up that while she doesn’t feel the board needs the same level of service they utilized from K12 during the superintendent search, she would like to look into utilizing OSBA’s services if it comes down to having to take further steps in the treasurer search.

“It seems like they might be a meet-in-the-middle kind of solution to guide us and help us,” Doll said.

Also discussed during the work session was open enrollment; the board revisits Tipp City School’s open enrollment policy every April and makes a decision on whether they will allow open enrollment for the upcoming school year. Last year, the board voted to end open enrollment for the 2020/2021 academic year. Currently, the biggest concern with open enrollment is larger class sizes, which have impacted the quality of education for students.

Dunaway brought up that she has received phone calls from parents whose students come home crying because they’re struggling with course material and feel like it’s their fault.

“Those are the stories I hear, and it breaks my heart. I hate that any kid does not like going to school because they feel like they are not intelligent enough to learn,” Dunaway said. “That’s a situation that needs to be addressed.”

Another point of discussion was the open enrollment form Tipp City Schools provides; some board members felt the form was outdated, and some parts of it had no relevancy and were improper as a result.

“Our open enrollment form is totally improper. These are previous open enrollment forms — there should not be on there, ‘do you play sports and if so, what sport?’; there shouldn’t have been on there ‘how many times have you been suspended?’ — that’s irrelevant,” board vice president Anne Zakkour said. “Our open enrollment form, to me, started looking like a recruitment form.”

Zakkour continued that if the board were to look into open enrollment in the future, the form should reflect more toward students wanting to come to the district for academic advancement. Doll added that the previous practice with open enrollment was inequitable for students and family seeking access to educational opportunities.

Board member Simon Patry emphasized that he is in favor of exploring policies the board could put in place to better structure open enrollment and address previous issues the district has had with open enrollment.

Further discussion on open enrollment is planned for the next meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, March 22.