SPRINGFIELD TWP.  The Springfield High School Spartanaires opened the Nov. 15 Springfield Local School District's Board of Education meeting by leading the board members and visitors in the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner."

During the meeting, board members approved a variety of personnel items including the resignation of Nicholas Hurd as the 7th grade girls basketball coach and the retirement/resignation of Kay Greathouse, effective March 1, 2018.

Other approved personnel items were tenure for Jennifer Hoskin and non-sport supplemental contract for Lisa Putt to serve as the junior high school yearbook advisor for the 2017-18 school year. Several athletic supplemental contracts for a variety of coaching positions for junior and senior high school were also approved.

The board also approved Rebecca Tepus to return to her original four-hour cafeteria position and reassigned Tina Rodhe as a seven-hour cook; Jennifer Fenton as a classified substitute; Melissa Hemminger as a two-hour cafeteria worker; and Stephanie Spennati as a two-hour educational assistant.

Treasurer Chris Adams reported there were no major surprises from the district's budget. Currently, the benefit line of the budget is tracking lower than last year. Adams said if that continues, it will certainly help the district moving forward. However, he warned that it all relies on the health of the district employees and events they can’t control. The district's expected budget is $28,539,000 and it expenditures are tracking at $28,505.000.

In other business, the board:

- Approved a joint agreement appointing the Business Advisory Council of the Summit Educational Service Center (ESC) to serve as the Business Advisory Council for the district. Superintendent Chuck Sincere explained that the council will work with the schools, giving advice as to preparing students for work positions.

He said a good amount of juniors and seniors attend the Portage Lakes Career Center (PLCC). 

"We rely on the Portage Lakes Career Center to give us advice on what our students will need to be prepared for the world of work as they enter into their technical fields," Sincere said.

Linking up with the ESC will help the schools to work more closely with area businesses. The district will have the help of PLCC and the local ESC.

"We are excited about this new adventure," Sincere said.

- Heard from Business Manager Dustin Boswell, who updated the board on Winter Safety Awareness Week. A website to check for tips for winter driving is www.weathersafety.ohio.gov.

In transportation, Boswell said the district is transporting 1,425 students 1,577 miles a day. Those numbers are a slight increase from last year.

In food service, Boswell said 82 percent of students at Schrop and Spring Hill, 48 peercent of students at the junior/senior high school and 64 percent of students at Young Elementary are on free and reduced lunches.

- Accepted a donation of $3,742.49 from the Springfield Youth Boys Basketball Team to the Springfield High and Junior High School boys basketball team; $855 from anonymous donors to the Spartans Caring Closet; and $731 from the Spring Hill Parent Group to Spring Hill Elementary.

- Reviewed and accepted variety of revised board policies.

- Heard from Superintendent Chuch Sincere, who thanked those who donated to the district and the parent groups that do outstanding jobs to offer opportunities to the students. Sincere congratulated current board members Mary Lou Dodson and Terry Robinson who were re-elected to the board at the recent election. He also congratulated a new board member Shannon Markem.

Sincere also announced that Schrop teacher Betty Kern will receive the Ohio Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the year award. 

- Heard from Springfield Junior/Senior High School Principal Shaun Morgan and math teacher Meredeth Gray, who presented an update on how students are faring. Gray said they are extremely proud of their math students this year. Last year, the school was at a 2.9 for growth measure. For 2017, it jumped to a 7.1 growth measure. 

- Heard from Brad Beun, who spoke about the special services department, saying the district's special education population data is based on the 2015-16 school year.

"Our special education population was 18.02 percent of our students," he said. "The state average is just over 15 percent. So we have a larger special ed population here at Springfield."

He said the district is working to help students to score better on the state required tests. The program has potential as educators are working with assessments to focus on what students need and where their weaknesses are so more help can be provided.  In an effort to stay competitive with online charter schools, the district began an online program called Spartan Academy.

"We are starting small to make sure that we have a program that works," Beun said.

UP NEXT: The next regular board meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Dec. 21 at Young Elementary School.