Covington BOE honors Hirth into retirement

By Aimee Hancock -

COVINGTON — The Covington Board of Education recognized ESC employee Renée Hirth, MD unit teacher, in honor of her retirement from the district, during the board’s regular meeting on Wednesday.

“In her total years of education, she spent 32 years helping kids,” said Superintendent Gene Gooding.

Both junior/high school and elementary school principals were in attendance Wednesday, and expressed their gratitude to Hirth.

“It takes special people to do what Renée does,” said elementary principal Josh Long. “Those kiddos feel a part of the community of our building and you help to make them feel that way. It’s been a pleasure working with you and getting to see those kids grow.”

“I appreciate you working with our students,” said Junior/High School Principal Josh Meyer. “Whenever I needed a pick-me-up, I could always count on you.”

During the treasurer’s report, the board approved the adoption of temporary appropriations for fiscal year 2020 in the amount of $6 million, based on 50 percent of the 2019 FY appropriations.

The board also approved supplemental appropriations totaling $44,647.33.

Gooding gave commendations to senior Lauren Christian for winning the Division III State Shot-Put Championship, breaking her own school record with a distance of 44-7 1-4.

Gooding also commended Andrew Cates for placing eighth in the 400-meter relay at state, and to the 4×2 and 4×4 relay team members, Gray Harshbarger, Alex Shaffer, Cade Schmelzer, and Andrew Cates for placing eighth in both events at state.

The board accepted donations from the following sources:

• Miami County Foundation, for food service department/equipment — $5,000.

• Felger Memorial Trust, for Felger Scholarship Fund — $1,969.

• Miami County Foundation, for Elem Artist in Residence Program — $1,700.

• Miami County Foundation, for Girls After-School Program — $1,300.

• Fields of Grace Worship Center, for Covington Scholarship Fund — $1,000.

• Covington PTO, for Elementary Field Day — $500.

• Kona Ice of Troy, for the Athletic Department — $183.25.

• Arens Corp., for the Athletic Department — $100.

The board approved the 2019 Covington Scholarship Fund and Felger Scholarship recipients, which included 24 students.

The eighth grade Smoky Mountain trip, scheduled for April 26 through May 2, 2020, was approved, as well as the fifth grade Washington, D.C., trip, scheduled for May 11-15, 2020.

In personnel news, the board:

• Accepted the supplemental resignation of Kayla McEldowney as seventh grade girls basketball coach, effective immediately; and approved a certified supplemental contract for the 2019-2020 school year for McEldowney as varsity assistant volleyball coach and varsity assistant girls basketball coach.

• Approved a certified contract for the 2019-2020 school year for Matt Pond, with board member Dr. Dean Pond abstaining from the vote.

• Approved Denise Pond, Jennifer Pond, and Matt Pond as certified tutors for the 2019-2020 school year, with board member Pond abstaining from the vote.

• Approved the certified supplemental contract of Amber Edwards as junior high cheerleading coach.

• Accepted the resignation of Amanda Dieringer, kindergarten teacher.

• Granted a one-year limited certified contract to Logan Carey, second grade teacher, and to Kate Reck, kindergarten teacher, for the 2019-2020 school year.

• Approved Jessie Crowell as seventh grade girls basketball coach.

• Approved Jacob Shortridge as classified volunteer coach for the football program.

The board also approved the varsity football team’s overnight trip to Indian Hills Campground in Pleasant Hill, from June 21-23.

The purchase of Dell Chromebooks and cases for the student one-to-one program was approved, as well as Dell desktop computers for the annual replacement cycle, in the total amount of $76,559.50. It was noted that this total came within the planned budget.

The purchase of Dell desktop computers and monitors, to replace the existing out-dated equipment, was approved in the amount of $27,996, to be purchased for the business department with Roy Weikert donation funds.

The board approved the purchase of network hardware and licenses, in the amount of $11,972, from Mobile Tek, with e-rate funding expected to cover approximately 60 percent of the cost.

The board also approved the purchase of Final Forms, a digital online solution for staff, student, and athletic forms, at a cost of $8,400, which includes a one-time fee of $3,000.

A contract with Mercer Group, Inc. was approved to rework the baseball infield, at a cost of $27,517, as per the quote. Gooding noted that additional repairs to fencing and dugouts will still be needed at some point in the future.

The board briefly discussed the income tax levy renewal that is to appear on the ballot this November. It was emphasized the levy will not result in any new taxes and will simply be a renewal of the five-year levy that is already in place.

Gooding also discussed the possibility of creating a memorial garden to honor students and staff who have died during their time at the school.

By Aimee Hancock

Reach the writer at 937-552-2205.

Reach the writer at 937-552-2205.