Troy BOE taps Kleptz, Borchers to lead

TROY — On Monday, Troy City Schools Board of Education reorganized for the 2021 year and finalized the steps to place two renewal operating levies — one for the district and one for the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center — on the May ballot.

The board nominated and approved Tom Kleptz as board president for his second year and Sue Borchers as vice president for 2021.

The district approved the second step of a resolution to seek the renewal of a five-year, 5.8-mills levy for operating expenses for the district. The levy is projected to generate $3.7 million per year for operating costs for the district.

The board of education approved the same second step for the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center’s renewal of a five-year, 0.85 mill levy for the May 2021 election. The levy is projected to generate $592,520 per year if renewed. The estate of Mary Jane Hayner bequeathed her 1914 Romanesque-style home to the community in the care of the Troy City Schools. Voters approved the plan and have renewed the levy every five years since.

Troy City Schools Superintendent Chris Piper shared a COVID-19 update with the board. Piper said staff has watched infection numbers closely. Miami County has been removed from the state’s watch list and currently is at Level 3 Red risk level. Piper noted spikes in cases following Thanksgiving and winter break and continues to monitor infection rates daily.

All-day, in-person, everyday learning is expected to resume next week barring any new spikes in infection rates or other state measures. Piper said the district is continuing to learn more information about inoculating its staff. Piper estimated there are 530 staff members in the district and 362 of them have signed up for the vaccine. Ohio’s teaching staff is expected to be part of Phase 1b to receive the vaccine on Feb. 1 for “employees of K-12 schools that wish to remain or return to in-person or hybrid models.”

Piper said the district is working with Miami County Public Health on a plan and logistics on where and when the vaccines will be administered.

There were several members of Troy City School’s teaching staff at the meeting and Piper noted the additional time and planning surrounding the in-person, online hybrid and remote styles of teaching throughout the school year so far.

Borchers said she’s received positive feedback from parents from students who have been learning at home and commended the staff’s efforts in keeping students on track.

Piper said quarantines were sending up to 15 students home for each case and hybrid learning helped curb those numbers.

At the end of the meeting, president Kleptz read a resolution of appreciation, approved by the board, of the hard work of all the district’s teachers throughout the pandemic. The resolution was drafted by board member Michael Ham. Each board member expressed their personal appreciation. Piper will include the resolution in the employee newsletter and present it to staff.

Jane Wise, a fourth-grade teacher at Concord Elementary, said not only do students miss their school routine, but staff also misses its team teaching and its support in the classroom. Wise said it’s a challenging time for educators and she “appreciated the kind words.” Wise said teachers are “stretched” and if people see a teacher in public, she encourages them to express their appreciation because “it goes a long way.”

Intervention specialist at Concord Elementary and Troy resident Kenny Tebbe addressed the board as a community member and not a member of the district’s staff. Tebbe said he’s attended several meetings and said he feels there’s “trepidation” regarding the district’s levy attempts following its failed school construction levy last spring and its failed 0.25 percent income tax levy last November.

Tebbe said, “I couldn’t agree more with trying to educate the public as best that we can knowing this is a dire need, most likely I believe. I haven’t seen exact numbers, but I assume this is very important for our operation on how things are going.” Tebbe said he hopes the levy committee is successful and the group learns from its feedback from the failed attempts in 2020.

Board member Doug Trostle said the district tried to seek an alternative to the property tax levy when they sought an income tax last fall. Trostle emphasized the renewal is to continue to the district’s operations it has maintained over the years and looks forward to a successful campaign in the spring. He also expressed his appreciation for the teaching staff and its hard work through the pandemic.

Troy City Schools Superintendent Chris Piper will host his next Virtual Coffee Chat at 9 a.m. Wednesday on Facebook Live.

These chats can be found on the district’s Facebook page.

Superintendent Piper will host these monthly chats at various times throughout the day to give as many people as possible a chance to participate. Participants may ask questions in real-time or leave questions in the comments section after the chats have ended.