By KATHRYNE RUBRIGHT
Findlay City Schools needs to “recruit” students to the district, school board President Shane Pochard said Monday night.
He suggested being “more aggressive as a district as far as how we go after kids, either to keep them or to go get them. And I’m going to use the R-word: We need to recruit.”
Findlay excels in fine arts, athletic facilities and academic offerings, he said.
“There is no reason for a child to leave our district. I really can’t think of one,” Pochard said.
Findlay has a net loss of about 180 students through open enrollment this school year, according to state data as of March 27, the most recent available report. When a Findlay student goes to another district through open enrollment, state aid follows that student, so Findlay has lost state aid for 180 students this year.
Board member Chris Aldrich said Pochard was “right on target.”
“We’ve got a lot to offer. Our staff are great, our teachers are great, our administrators are excellent, and it’s just amazing what we have to offer here,” Aldrich said.
Separately, the school board approved a five-year contract renewal for district Treasurer Mike Barnhart, from Aug. 1, 2018, to July 31, 2023.
His salary starts at $119,400 and will be raised by 2 percent in 2019, 5 percent in 2020, and 2 percent in both 2021 and 2022.
Barnhart has done “an outstanding job managing the district’s finances, helping with passing levies and just generally ensuring that the board and our staff has an understanding of our financial situation,” Pochard said after the meeting.
Awards from the state auditor’s office don’t hurt, he added.
The district received the Auditor of State Award with Distinction in February. 2016 was the district’s 26th consecutive year with a clean audit.
“That string of awards just continues to prove what a good job (Barnhart) and his staff” are doing, Pochard said.
Separately, the board approved 10-cent increases for breakfast and lunch for the 2017-18 school year.
The new prices will be $2.70 for elementary and intermediate lunch, $2.85 for high school lunch, $1.75 for breakfast, $3.20 for an adult lunch and $1.75 for an adult breakfast.
Milk will remain 50 cents.
Reduced-price breakfast and lunch will still cost 30 cents and 40 cents, respectively.
Because the regular prices went up, the reimbursement amount for free and reduced lunches will also increase, Barnhart said.
Separately, Findlay High School Principal Craig Kupferberg spoke about the proposed change in graduation requirements now before the Legislature.
Under a proposal backed by the state school board, current juniors would still have to take end-of-course exams that are new for their class, but would be able to graduate without passing them if they took all seven tests and met at least two other conditions, such as a senior year attendance rate of 93 percent and a senior year grade point average of at least 2.5.
Kupferberg called the proposed requirements “very doable.”
He was part of a work group that made the recommendations, which were presented to the state school board by state Superintendent Paolo DeMaria.
There are two other ways students in the class of 2018 can graduate.
Current juniors can also graduate by getting remediation-free ACT or SAT scores. These are scores that, according to state universities and the Ohio Department of Higher Education, indicate students are ready to succeed in college classes.
A third path to graduation is earning an industry-recognized career credential — such as becoming a certified welder by the American Welding Society’s standards — and a score of 13 or better on the WorkKeys assessment. WorkKeys is a three-part test on reading, applied mathematics and locating information.
Kupferberg criticized the three options Monday for all focusing on college readiness, when not every student needs to be prepared for higher education.
Separately, the board approved a sponsor contract with Findlay Digital Academy. The academy is an online option for students in grades nine through 12.
Changes in the contract address Findlay City Schools being rated as an “ineffective” sponsor of the Findlay Digital Academy by the Ohio Department of Education.
The academy board will vote on the contract during a meeting at 12:15 p.m. today.
Separately, the school board accepted 12 grants totaling more than $55,000 from the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation. Most came from the Hancock Education Fund.