SPRINGFIELD Ohio School Board Association Northeast Regional Manager Reno Contipelli surprised longtime Board of Education member Mary Lou Dodson with a certificate and trophy for her dedication to the district during the Sept. 20 Board of Education meeting.

Dodson's family surprised her by being present at the meeting and congratulated her with flowers.

Dodson has been a member of the board for more than 35 years, which Contipelli said was unheard of in Ohio. 

"To be on a local board that longs is incredible," Contipelli said. "It means, you still want to do this, you are young at heart, you love children, you love your community, your community supports you and your family supports you."

Breaking barriers

Several presentations were given at the meeting, including "Breaking Barriers, Hope is Alive," which was presented by Travis Bornstein.

Bornstein lost his son, Tyler, to an addiction to opiates.

"Giving you an opiate is almost like giving you heroin," he said. "Within two weeks, you can become addicted."

He said it is a disease not moral failure. 

"We work to breakdown the stigma that comes with drug addiction," Bornstein said. 

"Breaking Barriers, Hope is Alive" has worked to earn more than $1 million dollars to help families who are dealing with loved ones suffering from opiate addiction.

Administrator updates

- Springfield Junior/Senior High School Principal Shaun Morgan presented a new academic privilege program at the school for students in grades 7 through 12. Academic privilege is a right granted to a student who exhibits academic responsibility (a C+ 77 percent or higher in all classes and good school citizenship). Awards range from open gym during lunch for those in junior high to juniors; and seniors having early release privileges. The program is in its beginning stages but has been working well and getting the attention of students, Morgan said. 

- Director of Special Services Brad Beun gave an update on his department, said it had 455 students from grades pre-k to 12 in special services programs, and 32 teachers and tutors who work with the students on a daily basis. he said 22 teacher aides work with the students as well as other support team members.

"They are doing a great job helping those kids grow," Beun said.

2017 budget

Treasurer Chris Adams reported  the distirct is budgeting 4.6 percent more than last year, mostly due to an increase in benefits payments.

Adams said the district is self insured and most of the increase is due to claims. He said if the district was not self insured, he would be budgeting an 11 percent increase.

Adams, however, added that total revenue is "disheartening" as there is there is a projected 3- to 4-percent decline due mostly to phasing out the tangible personnel property tax.

"That is a half of million dollars," he said.

Board business

- The board approved a variety of personnel items that including employment, re-employment, reassignments and non sport and athletic supplemental contracts.

- Acceptance of a $2,500 from the Wal-Mart Community Grant to the Spring Hill Breakfast Program to provide breakfast for the student body at Spring Hill Elementary.

It was deemed to be unreasonable, uneconomical and/or impractical under present conditions to provide transportation on Springfield buses to some area private schools. Parents of students attending said schools may qualify for an annual payment per child as prescribed by law. Parents may qualify for waiving transportation, making application for a "D" contract and submitting an invoice at the conclusion of the year.

An overnight/extended trip for the Springfield High School Marching Band and chaperones to travel to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New York City, New York, to sightsee and perform at the Statue of Liberty from April 20, 2017, through April 23, 2017 was approved. No school days will be missed. All expenses will be paid by participants through personal funds and fundraisers.

The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Oct. 18 at Schrop School.