SPRINGFIELD TWP. Springfield Local Schools Treasurer Chris Adams spoke about a new law during the January Board of Education meeting.

Adams said the largest portion of the district’s expenditures are the employees and their benefits and he said labor costs are about 3.15 percent above costs last year.

“The tough news are the benefits (health insurance),” he said. “We have had some tough spots with the benefits. We have been having some very expensive procedures this year. That is tracking at 7 percent over last year. The good spot is the supplies and materials. We can control this, and we are doing better than last year. We have spent $433,000 and last year we spent $444,000 at this point in the school year.”

Adams also spoke about the new EdChoice program, which will allow children at low performing district’s to transfer into nearby private schools. He said the program will hurt Springfield.

“It is a big concern and disturbing,” he said. “The state is looking to allow parents to take children to designated private schools with local public schools providing the transportation.”

Other business:

• Superintendent Chuck Sincere presented the board members with certificates in honor of board member appreciation month designated by the Ohio Board of Education. He said the board members are people living in the community,

“You’re friends and neighbors with extraordinary dedication to our community and children,” he said.

Sincere said public education is the backbone of this country and local school boards are deeply rooted in American tradition. Each member studies, discusses and researches to make decisions on complex issues.

“They make student success their priority,” he said.

Board members are Mary Lou Dodson, Larry Petry, Neal Hess, Dave Hofer and Chad Lance.

• Business Manager Dustin Boswell said the construction of the transportation depot is going well and the weather has cooperated. The foundation is in and one of the walls is going up. Construction of the building should begin soon.

• Donations accepted included a donation of $2,694.85 from the Springfield Youth Basketball to the high school boys basketball team from the golf outing fundraiser; Davis Industrial Valve with a donation of $250 for the Springfield Softball Team; and Brand and Linda Birch with a donation of $100 to the Spartan Caring Closet. Sincere thanked those that donated and said that every dollar goes directly to helping the students.

• Approved personnel items included a payment of a $250 stipend per the negotiated agreement to the Institute of Higher Education approved certified staff members who hold appropriate credentials and are considered lead instructors and have taught college credit plus courses at Springfield High School for the fall semester 2019. They are Kelly Humenansky, Jack Morgan and Magdalena Zook.

• The employment of classified substitutes Mandie Breeden and Phillip Adams was approved. Also, the approval of a three-year administrative contract for Brad Beun as director of special services.

• Reassigned classified employee Nannette Pelkey as a two-hour educational assistant at Young Elementary.

• The 2020-21 school calendar was approved by the board.

• During the board members’ informal portion of the meeting, Hess said public education is so important.

“It is one of the greatest things about our country,” he said. “It is alarming when things happen when it is weakened. We all need to do what is important.”

He said that the schools are probably the largest employer in the community. Hess asked that the public do anything they can to support the local school including contacting state representatives about the EdChoice program.

The next regular board meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Feb. 18 at Schrop Intermediate School, 2215 Pickle Road.