Thursday, December 1, 2011

November News

Our regular meeting for November followed the standard format of opening, financial reports and minutes being approved, etc.  A slightly unusual donation was made by my cousin, Norm Bratton (Jr.) - when his mom passed away recently, he discovered a small bank balance for the Class of 1942 in a savings account that she had managed as treasurer.  This amount ($28.36) he had issued to the district on a bank check.  Board member Mona Dyke suggested that it go toward the Swanton Foundation as other similar donations had done before, and the rest of us agreed.

One of the important decisions made that evening was to hire Joyce Kinsman as our new CFO/Treasurer.  Mrs. Kinsman has been the treasurer for the Pike-Delta-York district for the past 9 years and brings a lot of applicable experience to the position in Swanton.  She may not be as tall as our former treasurer, but she has every bit of the spunk - and expertise.  We are glad to have her aboard!  She will officially begin her duties here in mid-December.

The next "big" thing on our agenda was a PowerPoint presentation by two seniors who participate in the recently formed "Interact" group at the high school.  First, let me give some information on this organization.  "Interact" is Rotary International's service club for young people (age 12 -18).  Interact clubs are sponsored by local Rotary clubs, which provide support and guidance, but the clubs are self-governing and self-supporting.  Each year, Interact clubs complete as least 2 community service projects, one of which fosters international understanding and goodwill.  Our new Swanton Rotary Interact club meets once a week in the high school media center.  Rotarians help facilitate their weekly meetings.  Our group has been broken into 3 committees:  Community Service, School Spirit, and Community Relations.

Right now, our high school Interact club has three short term projects they are working on: 
  • Selling granite tiles to SHS seniors and SHS alumni.  Tiles are laser engraved, and will be on permanent display in the high school.
  • Students plan to clean up the creek bank on the East side of the football stadium, and also plan to work with the Village to stem erosion there.
  • A fundraiser to obtain an English bulldog as a school mascot.
It was this last project that the PowerPoint presentation addressed at our board meeting.  The boys did a nice job pleading their case, and we really admire and appreciate their willingness to bring this presentation to the Board.  Of course, we are talking about a living creature here, and so there are other concerns that should be addressed.  Board member Kris Oberheim owns 2 of this type of dog, and can speak from experience on their care, temperament, etc.  She had several pertinent comments and questions for the guys and suggested that they do some more research as the Board would do as well, before a decision is made. 

I'm not sure why the club didn't consider finding a current owner among our residents (Ted Haselman also owns one - who else out there does??) and possibly work with that owner to have that pet be a mascot at the games, etc.  But perhaps they DID consider that and decided they preferred to try this route instead.  I don't know.  Having been a dog owner my entire life, I had a lot of questions on their proposal - but Mrs. Oberheim's comments were sufficient that night.

We next approved a 3 year agreement to have Rose Photography continue as our official district photographer. 

Another important action taken that night was to agree to place a renewal of the Emergency Levy on the ballot this coming Spring.  It would NOT be a "new" tax levy - it is a renewal of an existing levy.  This levy collects around $825,000 annually, and given the state of our 5 yr. forecast it is clear to see that its renewal is important for our district.

Our December meeting was set for Tuesday the 13th, and we approved a revision of board policy 9270.

A quick discussion was held on the Swanton Rec program.  There is some interest in doing a new joint venture with the Village on this program, which would include using the school district as a taxing agent to obtain money for Swanton Rec in a fashion similar to that of the Swanton Public Library.  The former board's goal was for Swanton Rec to become its own entity . . . but that plan has apparently derailed.  If the school district is used as its taxing agent, I'm not sure how the taxes collected will be spent:  programs?  handed over to the Village for park maintenance?  It might be a bit too early for these kinds of questions, but they will eventually need to be addressed.

Michelle Tyson had attended the OSBA conference in Columbus recently, and said a few words about that.  I don't know what seminars or sessions she attended during her stay.

We had one executive session that night, to discuss employee employment and negotiations.  A new meeting date was scheduled with the SEA bargaining team for Dec. 8th.  Depending on its outcome, we will take action at our Dec. 13th board meeting.

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