Heatherly sworn-in as new Tipp BOE member


By Amantha Garpiel

For Miami Valley Today

TIPP CITY – The Tipp City Board of Education swore in its newest member on Oct. 23 before the beginning of its regular session meeting.

Joellen Heatherly was chosen to fill the empty seat left by former board President Simon Patry for the remainder of 2023.

Following the swearing in, the board heard updates on the school resource officers (SROs) and the building project plans, discussed long-term substitute pay, approved resolutions of participation with Miami County Educational Service Center (ESC), approved the Premier Health sponsorship agreement and approved payment of home instruction tutors.

Both of the district’s SROs attended the meeting to share how they are connecting with the students and staff so far in the 2023-2024 school year. Officer Warren Edmondson, the Tippecanoe Middle School SRO, discussed the great experience he has had so far this year and the beginnings of strong relationships he has built by getting into the classrooms. Officer Phil Osting noted, as a sign of the relationships he is building with students, that one of the senior football players asked him to wear his jersey to one of the games. He also shared his efforts in getting staff involved in the SRO’s work to keep students safe when he is on lunch duty or bus duty.

The board then went on to hear updates on the new building project, mainly the potential for storm shelters and the deadlines the board must make to get the funding on the ballot in March.

The beginning of the discussion focused around the logistics of building a storm shelter for the new building versus building the school with storm and tornado safety in mind with reinforced walls in a specific shelter area, most commonly the gymnasium.

If the board decides to have a storm shelter built, the codes for building it require 5-square-feet per person and that is estimated to equal 10,000-square-feet for the new preschool through eighth-grade building. It also requires the shelter to have bathrooms available and walls and windows that can withstand at least 250 mph winds and projectiles. Storm shelters are also subject to special inspections and need annual inspections to ensure the structure is up to code.

No action was taken regarding a decision on a storm shelter during the Oct. 23 meeting.

The board was reminded of upcoming deadlines for the project to get the funding levy on the March ballot. The full schedule is available on the school’s website and the board of education’s BoardDocs but County Auditor Certification and a resolution to proceed passed by the board is needed by Nov. 20.

The board then moved on to hear from Dr. Lisa Tuttle-Huff about raising long-term substitute pay and changing the schedule of their pay. Her proposal which included a tiered system that slowly increases a long-term substitute’s pay to the ORC required Bachelor’s degree level salary of $242.75 after 60 days in the same position.

The tiered system begins at $110 or $120 per day for the first 20 days in the same position. If a substitute stays in the same position after 20 days, the pay per day is increased to $140 for days 21-40. It is then increased again for the next 20 days, days 41-60 in the same position, to $175 per day. Finally, any substitute that works 61+ days in the same position is raised to $242.75 per day.

This new system was approved by the board unanimously to hopefully curb the amount of substitutes leaving the district and to bring in a high quality of substitutes.

Next, the board approved multiple resolutions to participate in service contracts purchased from the Miami County ESC. The contracts approved for participation include Title I services at St. Christopher, Alternative Learning Center at the Lincoln Center and a Career Connections Coordinator. The three contracts approved are all optional alternative education routes for students in the Tipp City School district.

They then approved the Premier Health Sponsorship, Marketing Rights and Service agreement for Oct. 13, 2023 until Oct. 12, 2026.

Lastly, the board approved in a 4-1 vote, with Theresa Dunaway voting no, home instruction tutors to be paid at a rate of $34.77 per hour. The list included six certified teachers to be Home Instruction Tutors. Dunaway expressed her concern that the teachers do not have anyone accompanying them in a supervisory role to the homes of students for tutoring.

In other business the board accepted:

• A $500 donation from Robert H. Turner for athletic equipment at Nevin Coppock Elementary;

• A total of $15,485.37 from the athletic boosters for both middle and high school girls and boys basketball teams and wrestling teams. It also included a $742 donation for all middle school sports teams;

• Two donations for the high school cross country program. $500 from Hobart and $350 from Dave Arbogast;

• A donation of $678.70 Tippecanoe STEM Education Inc. and is allocated to purchasing Mboty Servo Motors, funding the MathCounts Competition and purchasing drone soccer replacement parts.

The writer is a regular contributor to Miami Valley Today.

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