Covington BOE hears strategic plans for the school district


By Kelsi Langston

For Miami Valley Today

COVINGTON — Covington Exempted Village School District Superintendent Dr. Joseph Hoelzle presented the Covington Board of Education with a proposal for strategic planning at Wednesday evening’s regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 16.

Hoelzle, joined by Dr. Jeff Price of Pathway Planners, delivered a “distributed leadership” strategic plan presentation. Due to accelerated growth of technology in education, this plan would cover the next two to three years, versus a traditional five-year strategic plan. Under this plan, four teams would address facilities, communication and community relations, student activities, and academics and create goals for each area. Then a core team would compile the list of those goals and determine the district’s priorities. Any goals chosen would have to fit within the district’s budget. The team would be composed of the superintendent, principal(s), board, teachers, technology and curriculum director, maintenance, athletic director, treasurer and community members and would create a living document containing the district’s mission, values, and goals. A cost/benefit analysis would be completed prior to finalizing the plan. With the board’s blessing, Hoelzle plans to move forward by promoting a kickoff meeting in late September. The estimated timeline for creation and implementation of the strategic plan would be September to April.

No comments were made during a hearing to use federal IDEA Part B funds in the amount of $176,281.88 to fund two existing teacher salaries and benefits. The minutes from the previous meeting, and the July 2023 financial reports including the income tax history report were approved. The district received $1,114,660 in income tax distribution for the period of April 1 through July 30, which was reflected in the July financial report. The FY23 financial statements are in process, with the draft received on Aug. 16, and will be completed by the state’s deadline of Aug. 31. These statements will be linked on the district website. The school will waive the online payment fee for any student fees and lunch payments made on the online Payschools system between Aug. 11 and Sept. 17 in an effort to get ahead of student collections for the upcoming school year.

The board approved the superintendent’s request to gratefully accept donations from the Covington Eagles, Robert Brumbaugh, Campus Box Media LLC, and Felger Memorial Trust, as well as approving bus routes for the 2023-2024 school year, and authorizing the superintendent to adjust the routes as needed during the school year. A request was approved for annual cell phone allowances of $600 for administrator positions for business use and for full-time, classified custodians and bus drivers. Certified extended day contracts were approved for guidance counselors Laura Ayres, Lauren Bell, and Nicole Crawford. Twenty-nine substitutes from the Miami County ESC were approved for the 2023-2024 school year.

A resignation from Kristi Homan as the multi-media/communications advisor was accepted, and the certified contract degree column was adjusted for Rachel Larson and David Tobias. A one-year contract flex position was granted to Laura Pellman, who will be a full-time substitute for classified employees. The board approved classified supplemental contracts for four intramural coaches and approved seven band volunteers. They also approved in-lieu of transportation, declaring the impracticality to transport students attending local private schools. Instead, the school will pay the parent or guardian of said student(s). The amount paid will be calculated by the Ohio Department of Education and will be issued in May of 2024.

Shawn Naff delivered a facilities update, sharing the maintenance and custodial team has had an extremely productive summer with many projects and routine maintenance items being completed with the added help of maintenance substitute Ashby Rench. Among the projects were creating a hallway to the new counselor’s office, adding new landscaping on the west side of the high school, touching up hallway paint, and painting every doorjamb in the elementary and middle school building, all of which were completed in-house. The team did hire out the Outdoor Learning Area project, which is complete pending the purchase of picnic tables. The team is currently researching alternate solutions to repainting the main corridor, which is worn down yearly due to heavy student traffic. The maintenance team also organized a barn on the school property, completed a deep clean of the buildings, completed maintenance on the gym floor, and are currently finishing up a project on door 1 at the elementary. This will be completed by the district’s open house, which is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 21, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The board approved a contract for a full-time school nurse supplied by the Miami County ESC, the use of school buses to provide transportation for Fort Rowdy and the 8th grade trip to Washington D.C., which was moved to May 21-24, 2024, due to bus availability.

There was a 4 to 1 to vote to approve a supplemental contract for Andrew Johnson as the Head Baseball Boys Coach.

“Before I vote on this, I just want to make additional comments as I did last year when we tried to renew this position,” said Board member Jim Rench. “My concern at that point was that the program was not going to grow under Coach Johnson, and unfortunately this year we did not have a JV team. That doesn’t speak well for longevity of the program.”

He added that parents and players are frustrated by a strong start to the season which then takes a downward spiral, while the team continues to run the same drills with no plans in place to improve.

Hoelzle shared his plans to attend the upcoming Board of Elections meeting to share the concerns of the district regarding the use of the school as a polling location. There are concerns over safety of the students, as school will be in session on voting day. The board entered into executive session to consider the purchase of property for public use with no action intended. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 5:30 p.m.

The writer is a regular contributor to Miami Valley Today.

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