Centerburg School Board

Board members gather in the board meeting room on the second floor of the Centerburg Local Schools building for their regular monthly meeting Monday.

CENTERBURG -- Centerburg Local Schools continues to fall short of its need for substitute teachers, superintendent Mike Hebenthal said during Monday's board of education meeting.

“I don’t know what the answer is, but we’re going to keep working at it,” Hebenthal said. 

In light of this ongoing challenge, Centerburg’s school board recommended the district allow for the hiring of non-certified substitute teachers for the 2021-22 school year, with the requirements of a high school diploma and successful completion of a criminal background check as permitted by Ohio Senate Bill 1.

Ohio requires substitute teachers to have at least a four-year degree, but the bill would allow districts to set their own substitute standards, an ability granted last school year amid initial staffing issues because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has since expired.

The bill passed in the House and Senate, and is now awaiting approval from Gov. Mike DeWine. 

Centerburg’s board also approved other measures Monday, including the recognition of several youth sports. 

The board declared three leagues/clubs as non-school sponsored groups but approved their use of school facilities free of charge, the groups being: youth basketball league, youth wrestling program and the first robotics club. The board also approved boys/girls bowling as a club sport. 

“What it does is it allows them to use the school name so that they can compete at a school level,” Hebenthal said, adding that the district does not provide funding. 

FFA representatives present to the school board

FFA president Ava Cochran and secretary Sydney Irwin informed the board of recent philanthropic efforts, team building events and competition wins. 

Also during Monday’s meeting, FFA representatives informed the board of recent and upcoming philanthropic and team building events, as well as some recent competition achievements. 

Centerburg rural soil placed second in the state competition, and  will compete in the national competition in the spring of 2022, FFA president Ava Cochran and secretary Sydney Irwin said.

Forestry and urban soil also made it to the county and district competitions, they said. 

There was no public participation Monday aside from the FFA presentation.

Regarding other board business, board vice president Lynn McCann made a motion to add another level of support to the superintendent and include board backing to quick decisions that may need to be made regarding COVID-19 protocols if the district sees a surge of cases in the future. 

The superintendent already has the ability to make changes to protocols without a board vote, which several board members stated as reasoning why a change in policy was not needed.

No one seconded the motion, and no further action was taken. 

The board approved trips for two school groups: transportation of the Centerburg Ski Club members to Snow Trails Ski Resort for six trips during 2021-22 school year, at the rate of $160 per bus per trip to be paid by the Ski Club as well as the overnight band trip in November. 

Contracts approved by the board included the Gifted Identification and Service plan and Bloom Pediatric Therapy to provide speech services, as required by federal law to be paid from American Rescue Plan IDEA funds.

Regarding personnel items, the board approved $500 stipends for staff to be members of the building leadership teams and trauma team. The board also approved supplemental contracts for sports coaches and drama positions. 

Additionally, the board approved several board policies, including on public participation at board meetings, evaluation of principals and other administrators, weapons, positive behavior intervention and supports, among other policies.

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Emma Davis is a 2021 graduate of the University of Richmond, from which she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and leadership studies. Emma reports for Knox Pages and Ashland Source through Report for America.

Emma Davis is a 2021 graduate of the University of Richmond, from which she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and leadership studies. Emma reports for Knox Pages and Ashland Source through Report for America.