Tipp City BOE discusses architects for upcoming projects

TIPP CITY — The Tipp City Board of Education discussed the facilities committe report and the architects for upcoming projects Monday night during the monthly work session.

The board also considered the formal approval of monthly financial reports, pay-to-participate, public complaints and more.

Having met prior to the board’s work session, the facilities committee wanted the board to further discuss the plan for the roof on Nevins Coppick Elementary School. No action was taken by the board during Monday’s meeting, but potential alternatives for students during construction, whether the district decides to renovate, replace or build new, was discussed. The committee also noted the board should take into consideration the districts need to replace two custodians. The custodian positions are not new; they were vacated before the COVID-19 pandemic, and were never filled.

On the subject of building projects, the Board has two architects to consider for the project, Ruetschle Architects, Inc. and Garmann Miller. The Board already received the proposed services and timelines from the companies, as well as a list of other projects each company is currently working on that could potentially conflict with their proposed timelines. Board member Theresa Dunaway spoke out with support for Garmann Miller. She expressed that the district needs a new face for building projects because it has worked with Reutschle Architects in the past. On the other side, Board President Simon Patry said Reutschle has “invested in this community” and therefore deserves the districts business and loyalty. Despite what members think, they wish to find out what the community wants. — Do they want to renovate, replace or build new? Which architect would the community prefer to see working with the district?

The board typically hears from the treasurer each month for a financial report and would vote to approve the report. The question was raised of if is it necessary for the board to have a formal vote to approve the monthly financial reports. A motion was made by Board member Anne Zakkour to allow Treasurer Melanie Fox to obtain legal opinions from the district’s attorneys as to whether or not the board is required to formally approve monthly financial statements.

Also on Monday’s meeting agenda for discussion, was pay-to-participate. Pay-to-participate was a discussion tabled from August’s regular session meeting. After August’s meeting, the board looked into pay-to-participate/pay-to-play policies in other districts and discovered that only one other district in Miami Valley uses pay-to-participate and another district only requires payments for transportation to and from events. Currently, pay-to-participate funds at Tipp City schools are compiled in the athletic department’s general fund and sent to different teams and clubs as needed.

The board decided to continue with the program as is and monitor how all funds are being used and to table this discussion until their next work session in October. Dunaway made a motion to have administrative representatives at the next work session to present budget information and how pay-to-participate funds are being used for each sport/club. The motion passed unanimously with the understanding that all information being requested of administrative representatives will be sent ahead of time.

The board also discussed their policy for handling public complaints. The proper procedure for public complaints regarding a professional staff member begins with the matter being addressed with the concerned staff member. If the issue cannot be resolved at the first level, a written letter can be submitted to the staff member’s principal or supervisor. Should the matter not be resolved by the principal or supervisor, a written request for a conference can be submitted to the superintendent. If the superintendent cannot resolve the issue or it is beyond their authority, the complaintant can request a meeting by the Board of Education. In instances where the complaint involves the superintendent or treasurer, the complaintant should submit a written request to the board president for a conference with the board.

This policy must be followed, complaintants may try to skip steps by immediately taking issues to an individual board member who then must turn the complaint over to the superintendent unless the complaint concerns the treasurer or superintendent. The Tipp City School District does not allow for anonymous complaints to be submitted.

In other business:

• The board continued their discussion of district wellness activities for staff members and the budget for these activities. Plans for activities are coming in the near future and a budget will be created once the activities are determined.

• Discussion of work from home procedures concluded with the decision to continue the discussion in the next work session with a policy from Superintendent Mark Stefanik.

• The board discussed the duties of the board president and determined one job that can be approved upon is the creation and release of agendas for their meetings. The board asks President Simon Patry and Vice President Richard Mains work on adding more information on discussion items to the agenda when possible. Dunaway also motioned to have meeting agendas released on Friday at noon the week before meetings in the future.

• Patry motioned to have the superintendent and treasurer bring annual objectives and their job descriptions, with any proposed changes, for the following school year to the next board meeting.

The next regular session Tipp City Board of Education meeting will be on Monday, Sept. 26, at 6 p.m.