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YS School Board— District forming a facilities committee

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At the last school board meeting of 2018, district Superintendent Mario Basora looked ahead to the new year, when the district “will click the reset button” in addressing local school facility needs.

During the superintendent’s report at the Thursday, Dec. 13, meeting, Basora gave an update on immediate plans for moving forward on the issue that last year resulted in a levy proposal being rejected by voters in May.

After reassessing the process, the district is putting together a committee of community members who will first explore the question of what the community wants for its schools and then work on determining what is needed to achieve those goals.

Shelly Blackman listing, 1415 Pagosa Way, Yellow Springs, OH

The committee will include parents, teachers, elders, community leaders and one student, Basora said this week in a follow-up interview. It will also include people who were on both sides of the levy issue, with the qualifier that no matter participants’ feelings about the previous plan, they can still work together and come up with solutions.

“They will really start from scratch,” he said.

Also serving, but in an ex officio capacity in support of the committee’s work, will be Basora, a school board member, the district treasurer and an architect, likely Mike Ruetschle, who worked with the district last year and would be paid an hourly rate for his time, according to Basora.

The first and most important question for Basora is: “What do we want our schools to be in the future?”

He envisions that after grappling with that fundamental question, the committee will “then identify what our schools look like now,” which will likely include securing a new assessment to compare to the one previously provided — and widely criticized in the community — by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.

The assessment results will then be “compared to where we want [the schools] to be” in order to “determine what more needs to be done.”

The committee will then prepare a draft plan of action.

“It could be anything,” Basora said. “We don’t know. That’s up to the committee to decide.”

The likely process, then, will see the draft submitted to the school board and following the board’s input, presented to the community for feedback. The committee will use that feedback to revise the draft plan, which will go back to the community again before its final presentation to the board.

Throughout, the work will take place in public, as committee meetings will be open to observers, with possible limited time for comments.

“It’s important for the community to know that we are actively working on developing  a process that will be more transparent and open,” Basora said.

Anyone who is interested in being on the committee should email Basora by Jan. 5 at

He said he can’t begin to predict the outcomes.

“The options are infinite,” he said, adding that he’s excited to think of the possibilities, which could be something ground-breaking and currently unimagined.

“It’s nice to hit the reset button and take a step back and not have any idea where this is going to go. It will be really exciting to see where the community wants to take this.”

In other school board business Dec. 13—

• New coaching position added

The board approved the addition of an assistant coaching position for the bowling team.

Superintendent Basora told the board that since its beginnings two years ago, the bowling team has grown steadily, this year drawing about 30 students. With enough players to field both a girls and boys squad, the head coach, Matt Cole, needs assistance covering all the games and practices, Basora said.

• Leaves of absence, subs approved

The board approved leaves of absence for middle school science teacher Rebecca Eastman, effective Dec. 17 until about April 1, and third-grade teacher Chelsee Earley, from approximately Feb. 6 to April 22. Relatedly, the board approved long-term substitute contracts for Theresa Graham as the middle school science teacher and Shelia Kruse for the third-grade position during the regular teachers’ leaves.

One-year substitute teaching contracts also were approved for William Barnette and Tami Herzer-Absi at a rate of $90 a day and $45 a half-day. Basora noted that the district has a need for more substitute teachers and is considering contracting with a company that manages schools’ substitute pools.

• Back to full time

The board also approved the reinstatement of a full-time contract effective Dec. 4 for Mills Lawn intervention specialist Olivia Dishmon, who went to half time early in the year as part of a job-share agreement.

• Supplemental contracts approved

The board approved contracts for staff: Mills Lawn music teacher Jo Frannye Reichert as MLS play director ($2,245), MLS gym teacher Robert Grote as MLS co-concert director ($333.25), Title I tutor Nan Meekin as MLS co-concert director ($719) and kindergarten teacher Jeananne Turner-Smith as MLS co-concert director ($359); nonstaff: Stephanie Lawson as freshman class advisor ($351); and volunteers: Robert Campbell, as high school theater costume designer, and Jessica Worsham, as softball coach.

• Next meeting set

The board’s next meeting will be Thursday, Jan. 10. The annual organizational meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the regular meeting will follow at 7 p.m.


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