COVENTRY TWP. The Coventry School Board, administration and department heads held a three hour work session Jan. 20 to discuss a wide variety of subjects.
During the work session, the board heard an overview from each department head about what is being done and what a department consists of. There was discussion about communication when concerns come up. The board agreed that concerns will be brought to Board President Chris Davis and then addressed directly with the person involved.
Instructional Accountability Coordinator Shannon DeMita, who has been with the district for 24 years, said she assists in overseeing all of the state tests given in the district. Coventry gives 19 tests, which is down from 27. This year, the district was able to use chrome books, which reduced the number of testing days from 16 to 10.
Superintendent Lisa Blough said the reduction in test days allows for six additional instructional days.
The Curriculum Department also oversees the college credit plus program.
Director Melissa Ostrowski said the district has 384 students who have an IEP. Of those students, 25 have autism. Learning disabilities make up the biggest portion of the IEPs.
Ostrowski said she is also in charge of the district's homeless program as well as English as a second language. She said the homeless program is growing as she just enrolled three students after Christmas break.
The Special Education Department has a parent mentor, which is funded fully through a grant. Another area of focus is alternative placement, which places some students in other schools.
Director Kelly Kendrick said the Technology Department supports every member of the district on some level. The department also helps with online testing. Kendrick said if something goes down in the district, they try to get it back up as quickly as possible.
Many of the district computers are running Windows 7 Professional. The district hopes to upgrade them to Windows 10 in the future. Also, the wireless data points in the district are eight years old.
Director Jon Hibian said he has been with the district for 36 years and is in charge of facilities and food service. The district has three school buildings plus the administration building. There are nine custodians and 13 food service employees.
He said the district has a licensed nutritionist, which is required by law to make the menus. He said the food service self pays for itself, as it made $136,000 during the past three years.
His department is also responsible for mowing 47.8 acres.
Blough said the district is considering making some changes in the partnership with the Portage Lakes Career Center. She said the PLCC is moving toward offering Associate Degrees for students before they graduate high school. Coventry has about 7 or 8 students who are following this program. Blough said the students working to obtain their Associate Degree aren’t normally students who would attend the career center.
The need for changes comes as there are scheduling conflicts, and that students who attend part time are generally scoring lower on state tests. Blough said the district would like to eliminate the part time program and allow students to go full time. Current juniors in Coventry who attend the PLCC were polled and they were split on whether they would want to attend full time during their senior year.
Coventry isn’t alone as other districts are facing the same issue. Blough added that Green Local Schools is considering pulling out of the PLCC. By changing to a full time only program, Coventry would eliminate the midday bus run to the PLCC, which will save the district money.
Blough would like to bring back a program in Coventry, which allowed students to attend school for half of the day and work the other half. She plans to talk with the PLCC about bringing this program back to Coventry.
ALTERNATIVE PLACEMENT SCHOOL
Coventry is exploring several options moving forward regarding an Alternative Placement School and opening a digital academy. The district contracts with LEAP Program for Alternative Placement School, but the district is exploring the option of possibly hosting it in Coventry.
One of the options would be to use the modular classrooms behind Coventry Middle School. The students brought into the school would not go into the middle school or interact with the students inside the middle school, as everything they would need would be provided inside the modular building.
Blough said she would like to also explore a digital academy, but said the district doesn’t have the infrastructure to support it. She said having the online programs in Coventry could bring students back to the district, which would keep their funding in Coventry.
The board and administration held a lengthy discussion about the contract for Snap Fitness, which is connected to the Coventry Elementary School building. The monthly lease is $2,500 and the board is exploring if this is a fair rate or not.
The owner is in his fifth year in the contract, which is the last, and the owner would like to redo the contract for another five years.
The board is expected to discuss this further in the upcoming months.
The Peterman Busing contract continues to rise in cost each year and the district is starting to explore what to do now as the contract runs through fiscal year 2021. The district first began the contract June 16, 2011, for $35,000 per month. The contract is expected to cost $61,000 per month by fiscal year 2021.
Treasurer Matthew Muccio said the contract is a large expense and the increase is worked into the five-year-forecast.
Through the contract, there are 24 routes, which counts daily runs, field trips and transportation for sports teams. The district is responsible for fuel and to pay for the drivers. The district is also paying for a loan, which built the bus garage. The loan won’t be paid off until 2031 unless Coventry buys out the remaining cost in 2021 if the district goes a different route for busing.
The district only owns four buses and the cost to purchase a new bus is about $100,000 each. The district has calculated it would be cheaper to buy buses and run its own routes in the future, but a decision has not been made.
In other business Jan. 20, the board:
- Approved a contact with Summit Education Imitative, which comes at no cost to the district.
The board went into executive session for personnel reasons and no action was taken.