Miami East honors Board of Education members

By Matt Clevenger

For the Miami Valley Today

CASSTOWN — The Miami East Local School District Board of Education honored departing board members Mark Davis, Kevin Accurso and Brandon Fellers during their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Dec. 20.

Plaques were presented to all three members in honor of their service to the district. Accurso and Fellers have served on the board for the past 12 years; their terms both expire before the board’s next meeting. Davis, who also served as a board member previously, returned to fulfill the end of board member Mike Rindler’s term.

“He didn’t even hesitate,” board president Mark Iiames said of Davis. “He knew we needed someone to serve, and he stepped right in there. We couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

“You guys exemplify what it is to serve,” Iiames said of Accurso and Fellers. “I would like to thank you both.”

“You’ve been excellent stewards,” Superintendent Dr. Todd Rappold said. “The district is in much better financial shape now than it was 12 years ago.”

New board members Amanda Howell, Pam Rice and Mark Lawson were elected in November, and they will be sworn-in during the board’s next meeting in January. “My sincere thanks to the public for letting us do this,” Fellers said. “It has been a great pleasure serving the public here.”

“Please stay involved in the process,” Accurso said to community members attending the meeting. “It does help us.”

In other business, board members also heard a presentation by Phil Nofziger, the Defiance-area director of Lifewise Academy suggesting the district consider implementing release-time religious education.

“Lifewise Academy is a release-time religious education program,” Nofziger said. “Release-time religious education is simply allowing students to leave the school grounds during the school day and receive religious instruction.”

Under the Lifewise Academy program, students are transported off school grounds for approximately 45-50 minutes, once per week for religious education. “Ultimately, we teach the bible from Genesis to Revelations, over a five-year period,” Nofziger said.

Similar programs already exist in the Van Wert, Defiance and Bluffton school districts, Nofziger said. “We are now in roughly two dozen school districts; one in Indiana, and all the rest of them are in the state of Ohio right now.”

“We have a way of trying to see if the school community is interested,” he said. “There’s like 150-plus people who have signed this community interest list for Miami East. That tells me that you have a good share of people who would like to see this be a part of the school.”

Board members also voted to select K-12 Business and Consulting to handle the district’s search for a new treasurer and heard an update on the district’s buildings, grounds and facilities survey, which ended Monday, Dec. 20. “We had a very nice response back from our parents and community members,” Rappold said. “Beginning this week, we’ll start compiling some of that information, and we’ll report back to our facilities team the results from that survey.”

Board members also voted to select board president Mark Iiames to serve as president pro-temp during their upcoming re-organizational meeting, which will be held at Miami East High School on Monday, Jan. 10. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. and will also serve as the board’s regularly-scheduled meeting for the month.

Board members also voted to approve a two-year contract with Miami County Transit for an antenna located on top of the district’s water tower, and new district calendars for the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years.

“In early November, we sent out a survey to our parents asking for input,” Rappold said of the calendars. “A two-week Christmas break and a week-long spring break were numbers one and two; getting out prior to Memorial Day was number three.”

“We will include a two-week Christmas break and a week-long spring break, but we can’t get out before Memorial Day,” Rappold said. “There will be a couple of days after Memorial Day that we’ll have to come back, but we were able to do two of the three top items as requested by the parents’ survey.”