Newton BOE approves new hires

PLEASANT HILL — A renewal levy and several hires were approved Wednesday at the Newton Local Schools Board of Education meeting.

The board approved proceeding with a .75 percent income tax for the November ballot. Newton Local Schools Superintendent Pat McBride said the renewal would go to fund practical purposes such as staff salaries, paying utility bills and special needs services.

“We have been good stewards of the public funds we get as evidenced by the fact that we have had a positive carryover for each and every year for the last 10 years,” he said. “Our revenues exceeded our costs last year by $177,000. This means that we are living within our means and making good fiscal decisions. We’ve done this for 10 years in a row.”

However, the levy — which brings in approximately $500,000 to $550,000 annually — needs to be renewed.

“We have the revenue that we need but we need the revenue that we are currently getting,” he said.

The board also approved a one-year staff salary increase of 2 percent for all certified and classified employees for the 2015-2016 school year, as well a three-year contract.

McBride said the board was under no obligation for the raise.

In other business, the board approved hiring three certified teachers for the upcoming school year.

Matthew Gaal was hired as the director of the band/choir, grades 5-12 music instructor and instructor of the junior high/high school choir.

Newton K-12 Principal Danielle Davis shared that Gaal was an Ohio State alumnus and had been a part of the OSU marching band.

“He was impressive during his first interview and is still an impressive candidate now,” she said.

Additionally, Toledo native and University of Dayton graduate Catherine Geiger was hired as a K-12 intervention specialist and Megan Weir was hired as a first-grade teacher. It was noted that Weir worked as a long-term substitute at Cookson Elementary in Troy this past year.

Supplemental position contracts were given to Mike Albright, Gavin Spitler and Mark Gibson for the positions of varsity boys basketball coach, athletic director and varsity girls softball coach respectively.

Extended days were established for Gaal and for the teachers in the special education department to work on Individualized Education Plans.

Spitler was approved for an administrator contract for the joint role of athletic director/assistant principal at $69,500. Steve Fisher was approved for assistant principal/guidance counselor at $58,000, and Stan Fessler’s contract as technology coordinator was approved at $42,000.

The board approved the purchase of a Blue Bird All American transit bus from Cardinal Bus Sales and Service in Lima for $82,820. The purchase was to replace Bus #2, which was purchased in 1997 and was one of the oldest buses.

The bid was obtained through the EPC bidding program and was the lowest responsible bid for this type of bus.

McBride shared the track project is expected to start within the next month.