Covington Board of Education recognizes retiree, gives commendations to students

By Jordan Green

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COVINGTON —The Covington Board of Education met Tuesday, May 24, for their regular monthly meeting.

The board opened the meeting by commending retiree Diane Wenning. Diane worked at the district for 35 years as an intervention specialist. She was described as, “humble, yet always right” and “irreplaceable” by Principal Josh Long.

The board later gave commendations to members of the district’s graduating class. Including the top academic performers: Holly Beasley, Claire Fraley, Elizabeth Kuether, Ayden Rench, and Sarah Slusher; Senior Class Prom Court members: Holly Beasley, Victoria Graveman, Claudia Harrington, Emmaline Kiser, Parker Metz, Izeke Benedict, Gavin Fraley, Ethan Kendig, Owen Rawson, Connor Sindelir, and Jensen Wagoner; and UVCC honored students: Izeke Benedict, Adam Brewer, Devin Brummitt, Jacob Dilley, Hannah Good, Erika Gostomsky, Cameron Ha, Kierra Hinnegan, Krystal Latimer, Daniel Leistner, Corey Marion, Brian Morrison, Megan Naylor, Shelby Petry, Ryan Remley, Corey Turner, and Zane Wise.

It also approved the issuance of 62 diplomas for Covington’s senior class.

The Treasurer’s Report included fiscal year 2022 tax summary and the five-year forecast. The district received $2,746,000 from income tax collection. That marks a 0.6% increase from the previous year.

“Pretty flat. We will take that into consideration for our next five-year forecast. We may have to downgrade projected revenue,” said Treasurer Carmen Siefring.

The board gratefully accepted donations to scholarship funds and extracurricular activities totaling $28,644.

“That is a lot for a school this size. We are very appreciative,” said Superintendent Gene Gooding.

The board elected to not increase school and lunch fees for the 2022-2023 school year.

A proposal for a new sidewalk to be built was approved. The contract is for a total of $46,525.96 with Brandon Studebaker Construction and City Electric Supply. The sidewalk will run from the student parking lot to the football entry gate and the baseball bleachers.

The last item of discussion was for LifeWise Academy. LifeWise academy is a religious release time organization. If implemented, students — who are opted in by their parents — would be released from school once per week to receive offsite, privately funded, religious education.

The organization has been making rounds in Miami County schools. Critics point out that students opted-in will miss a special (art, music, gym) once per week, as well as note that leaving school will cause a disruption to the student’s education and that those who don’t go may feel left out. Allowing this also opens the door for other groups to seek release time instruction, which the board cannot discriminate against.

Proponents say, it is legal, and that if parents want to educate their children in this manner, it is their choice. They also say it may bring students who left the district for private religious instruction back into the fold.

Covington’s Board sent out a survey on whether LifeWise should be allowed to operate to over 300 families. Around 100 families responded.

“I don’t know if this data really tells us anything,” said Gooding noting that the data is not an accurate representation of the population.

The board will receive information on LifeWise Academy at their next meeting and consider further.

The board then adjourned to executive session to discuss the School Resource Officer Agreement with the Village of Covington.

The next meeting will take place Wednesday, June 15 at 5:30 p.m. at Covington Elementary School