Newton schools hire staff

By Aimee Hancock

For the Troy Daily News

PLEASANT HILL — The Newton Local School Board of Education began its meeting on Wednesday with a brief public hearing on the rehire of the district’s speech therapist Diana Mirek, which was unanimously approved.

Several other positions also were approved for hire, including Sherry Keith into an expanded role to help teach junior high and high school choir; Donita Rapp as a cafeteria worker/student supervision for 1 1/2 hours per day; Fran Rapp as a substitute for the pre-school teacher aide position; and Tiffany McBride as the junior high cross country coach.

When the meeting was opened up to public participation, Robin Weaver took the floor to express concern over what she felt was an unresolved issue within the Newton Local School District regarding her son, who attends ACES in Piqua.

Weaver said that she received a call at the beginning of the school year from school officials, who said her son had been accused of saying something that could result in expulsion. Weaver was not clear about what her son was accused of saying and/or doing, but was adamant about the fact that these accusations were false.

Weaver went on to explain that due to these claims, her son had become the victim of online bullying. According to Weaver, her son is currently out of school due to a medical procedure, but she stated, “When I send him back to school, I want to know everything is OK.”

Superintendent Pat McBride pointed out that while he is technically a Newton Local School student, he does not physically attend Newton Schools, given that he is an ACES student. McBride also highlighted the fact that Weaver’s son had not been expelled as a result of this investigation into the accusations against him and he has been able to continue his education as before the incident.

Weaver continued to express her dissatisfaction with the way the incident was handled, stating “(You) cannot have kids accusing without proof and getting away with it.”

McBride responded by stating that it was not unfair to her son for these allegations to be investigated.

“The actions that we took are in line with our policies,” McBride said. “When people talk about accusations, we have a responsibility to investigate.”

Weaver did not expressly state how she wished the board to resolve this issue, and also agreed with McBride that the school and its officials cannot be expected to control the opinions of others in reaction to the allegations against her son.

Ultimately, McBride said, “We’re in the business of educating kids. That’s what we do, and we keep them safe.”

In other news, treasurer Nick Hamilton stated that the district ended with a total of $4,335,061.88 in all funds. The ending balance for the general fund totaled $3,025,638, and Hamilton stated the district is in the black by $393,262. He pointed out that capital outlay is higher this year due to the air conditioning project in the gymnasium, which was just recently finished. McBride added that the new ticket booth at the stadium has been completed, and the press box is to be finished by the spring.

Appropriations for the fiscal year 2018 were also approved Wednesday. The total of all appropriated funds equals $7,847,185.

The board also approved FCCLA advisor compensation at $1,000 for duties and responsibilities; $150 for Fall Fair and $150 for the Senior Citizen’s Dinner, plus $30 per hour to complete any of these events.