Thompson, BOE congratulates Piqua Class of 2024


By Kathleen Leese

For Miami Valley Today

PIQUA — Piqua City Schools Superintendent Dwayne Thompson congratulated Piqua’s graduating seniors during the Piqua Board of Education’s Tuesday, May 14, meeting, noting there are 240 seniors who will receive their diplomas on May 25.

He said that so far, graduates have been awarded $2.3 million in scholarships.

A total of 43% of 2024 Piqua graduates are expected to attend college, Thompson reported. There are 4% of graduates who are planning to go to a trade school or apprenticeship; 53% plan to go into the work force; and one student is planning to join the U.S. Air Force.

Thompson said one student, Asha Suleiman, has been accepted to Johns Hopkins University, which only has a 7.3% acceptance rate. Thompson also noted that senior Sabastian Karabinis graduated last week with his associate degree from Edison Community College and will also graduate next week with his high school diploma.

Class of 2024 Valedictorian Marin Funderberg and Salutatorian Simon Baker were present to address the board, with Thompson explaining it is tradition to invite the top two students to share their plans with the board.

Funderberg told board members Funderberg will be attending The Ohio State University majoring in political science and that said she leaves Piqua High School with “a lot of good memories.”

Baker said he will be attending the University of Dayton where he plans to major in mechanical engineering. He said his favorite memory is of his time as part of the cross country team.

Thompson and members of the board thanked senior Braden Holtvogt who was also at the meeting for being the board’s student representative. Holtvogt plans to study civil engineering possibly at Cedarville University.

Senior exams and the last day for the Class of 2024 will be Friday, May 17. Graduation will take place at Alexander Stadium on Friday, May 24, at 7 p.m. with a livestream available. It was noted that Upper Valley Career Center will hold their graduation on Thursday, May 23, at 7 p.m.

In other business, Jeremie Hittle, Piqua City Schools treasurer, gave a review of the five-year forecast for the school district, telling the board the district is spending 74% of their revenue on salary and benefits, adding that as long as they do not go over 80%, they are doing well.

Hittle explained there is a projected positive cash balance through June 2028 and noted enrollment is a key factor for the district in state funding rather than the school district of residence.

Overall, long term projections are on target, Hittle shared, with general fund estimated revenues of $45,529,621 and general fund operating expenditures for fiscal year 2024 of $40,735,291. He said there is a projected increase in ending cash balance through fiscal year 2028.

“We are financially stable and will continue to monitor any changes that will impact that stability,” Hittle said.

Piqua City Schools, Hittle said, is set to finish another year in the black as the school year comes to a close.

Hittle also told board members a new 2020 van has been purchased for the district that has 22,000 miles and was originally in Florida. It was purchased for one-third of the price using grant money and donations. He noted there were no tax dollars used to purchase the van. It will be used as a mobile learning lab for Piqua students and it can be used for STEM as well as a planetarium. It will operate as a book mobile for students throughout the summer.

Thompson told board members the district recently held their staff appreciation event, saying, “we really appreciate our staff.” He then shared the following people were named:

• Teacher of the Year — Sarah Jane Magoteaux;

• Support Staff Member of the Year — Sarah Patrizio;

• Coach/Advisors of the Year — Macarena Studebaker (volleyball) and Carol Palmer (music program);

• Substitute Teacher of the Year — Kimora Schricker;

• Friend of the Schools — and Mike Lumpkin.

Also during the meeting, Thompson said the Piqua sports program is “wrapping up” for the year, with softball players having 14 wins and the baseball team having one of the best years in recent memory. The men and women’s track team were expected to go to district meets on May 15. Piqua Schools will be hosting division II and III regional meets next week, which is likely to bring approximately 20,000 people to the Piqua area.

Board members approved the Piqua Junior High School roof, masonry and soffit project for this summer. Hittle told board members Kremer Roofing will do the work and it should take about three weeks to complete. The repairs will involve the flat part of the roof, not the metal roofing.

The board expressed their appreciation for a number of donations and grants received for Piqua City Schools, including donations for the Wisecup Honor Garden, which will be located at Piqua High School and will honor Piqua graduate Admiral James Wisecup. Those donations included Thomas Lange, $40; Richard and Judith Bowerman, $1,000; William Cotton and Patricia Davidson, $250; William Ankney, $500; Joseph and Brenda Wilson, $100; Jerome and Cheryl Herbe, $100; Roger Stahl, $50; Kenneth and Dorthea Casselman, $250; Jackie and Toni Hall, $50; Leslie Fincel, $100; James Graham, $500; Thomas and Ana Stahl, $50; Jeffrey and Justina Elliott, $500; Judith and Lee Pritchard, $100; Sylvan Tool Works, $500; Scott and Margee Zimpher, $500 and Doug Smith, $100.

Other donations and grants include Hemm Glass – Community Gifts, $10,000; Zimmerman School Equipment – Indian Nation Station, $500; Woodhull – Indian Nation Station, $200; Dickman Supply – Indian Nation Station, $500; Arcon Builders – Indian Nation Station, $1,000; Park National Bank – Indian Nation Station, $560; SecurCom – Indian Nation Station, $100; Hartzell Propeller – Springcreek Primary School, $800; Ruth and Jeanna Apple in memory of John Apple to Piqua Football – $100; Kiwanis Club of Piqua – Key Club, $998.26; You Matter – Piqua High School Hope Squad, $651.

Grants received include Piqua Education Foundation – Play at Edison, $240; Barbara Hartzell Family Trust – Wisecup Honor Garden, $100 and Piqua Community Foundation/Donnelly Fund – Wisecup Honor Garden, $1000.

The board also approved personnel action, including the hiring of employees, FMLA leave, re-employment, internal transfers, retirement resignations and a list of classified substitutes and substitute teachers for various employees, as well as supplementals for the 2023-24 school year.

The next meeting of the Piqua City Schools Board of Education will be on June 27 at 6 p.m. at the Board of Education office, 215 Looney Road, Piqua.

The writer is a regular contributor to Miami Valley Today.

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