The following is a summary of the Olentangy Local School District Board of Education's Feb. 14, 2017 Business Session:
  • Olentangy Liberty High School (OLHS) DECA Advisor Mike Rees and several OLHS DECA Chapter students provided the Board with an overview of the program. The chapter has had 61 projects qualify for international competition, with 23 of those projects placing in the top 16 internationally and three finishing as international champions. The chapter has raised approximately $180,000 for local charitable organizations since 2003.

  • The Board heard a school safety update from Jennifer Iceman, Assistant Director of Human Resources. Ms. Iceman reported on the District's continued expansion of its ALICE training for staff. In addition, the district is upgrading and expanding its camera systems. A three-year plan starting this year will see the district update all its building cameras to high definition cameras. Iceman also advised that the district is using a new volunteer background check vendor and, new this year, has implemented a drug screening procedure for new hires. Iceman also reported that the district recently established a community safety committee consisting of law enforcement officials community members and safety professionals.

Board President's Report:

  • President Roger Bartz and Board member Julie Wagner Feasel provided an update on the work being done to advocate for fair funding from the state. The district is asking state legislators to provide Olentangy with the same state funding as is received by private schools. Ms. Wagner Feasel explained that while the current state budget proposal includes a five percent increase in funding for the district, that only amounts to a $28 increase over last year's per pupil state funding, or $582 per pupil. The district would need to be provided $1,209 per pupil to receive the same level of funding the state provides to (chartered nonpublic) private schools.
Superintendent’s Report:
  • Superintendent Mark Raiff highlighted student accomplishments, including that 12 Olentangy students have been named as National Merit Scholar finalists. He also congratulated Olentangy High School for having received the OCC Ralph Young All-Sports Award based on the school's athletic performance during the 2015-2016 school year.
Treasurer's Report:
  • Treasurer Emily Hatfield reported that the district's January financial statement of revenues and expenditures remains on target with forecasts.  Ms. Hatfield also advised that appropriation adjustments on the agenda are related to the closing of the HB 264 energy conservation program. The program allows school districts to make energy efficiency improvements to their buildings and use the cost savings to pay for those improvements.
Discussion Items:
  • Facilities Committee member Sharon Jurawitz provided a report on the district's preschool capacity issues. Jurawitz advised that Olentangy’s elementary schools are operating over recommended design capacities when preschools and Specialized Learning Centers are taken into account. Strong demand for preschool is expected to continue and the state may reduce its guideline for the maximum number of students per preschool class from 16 to 12. The committee has reviewed options to address the preschool capacity issue, including adding 12 modular classrooms at the elementary school level, or constructing a preschool building. Another option would involve relocating the district's administrative offices in Shanahan Middle School to an office building for lease at 7840 Graphics Way Drive. The move would free up space for the current administrative offices to be converted into preschool classrooms. The lease was viewed as the best and most flexible long-term option to address capacity issues. The Board agreed to schedule a special meeting on March 7 to review the financial aspects of the lease option. 
Action Items: All action items were approved as presented. Highlights include: 
  • Approved the purchase of three 2017 Ford 150 Transit Wagons from Germain Ford of Columbus for $82,481.
  • Approved the purchase of maintenance vehicles from Germain Ford of Columbus for $148,557.

The next meeting of the Olentangy Local School Board of Education will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, 2017 in the Administrative Office.