By DAVID GREEN
Fayette Local Schools will soon advertise to fill a new position in the school—the Director of Digital Academy and Student Services.
Superintendent Erik Belcher told board of education members Monday that he sees several duties for the administrative post.
He wants the new full-time employee to oversee students taking on-line courses and be available to offer assistance. At this time, the courses are offered for students in need of credit recovery—those who have fallen behind in course work from an inability to comprehend the material or those who have missed classes due to illness.
The director would investigate expanding on-line class offerings for all students, with the eventual goal of helping students earn college credits while still in high school.
Belcher would also like the new person to explore co-op working experiences for students who are not attending vo-tech school; to consider opportunities for gifted students; and to become proficient at competitive grant writing.
Finally, the director would make contact with local families that are engaged in home schooling or in virtual schooling via the internet.
"I'm looking for blended learning opportunities," he said, by offering those students the opportunity to attend public school for part of the day to, for example, take a chemistry class, join the band or take advantage of physical education classes.
Belcher said there are more than 40 families with children who could spend part of the day in the public school.
"I view the school as a vital part of the community," he said, "and those students are still our people."
The district would receive state funding for the portion of time the students are in the public school and this could bring in additional revenue to the school.
Belcher said the district is expected to save money through cuts and attrition, and that would cover the costs of the new position.
"We're not just spending more money," Belcher said. "I want to invest part of our savings in the future."
He would like to hire an administrator to fill the role as soon as possible, although he realizes it might not be until Aug. 1 if the successful candidate is already under contract with another district.
The board approved the new position by a 4-0 vote, with Deb Leininger absent.
• RELEASE TIME—Board of education members approved an optional church release time scheduled for about 45 minutes at the end of the school day, one Friday a month. When a waiver is signed by parents, a student will be transported by bus to one of the area churches participating in the program. “Good moral lessons" could be learned at the sessions, Belcher said.
• ATHLETIC FIELDS—The board approved a contract with the Buehrer Group architectural firm for work on future outdoor athletic facilities, at a cost of $6,900.
The contract calls for updating the overall master plan, preparing bids, distributing documents, conducting a bid meeting, preparing award contracts, and providing construction administration services, when requested by the board.
• MEMBERSHIP—The board approved membership in the Ohio School Board Association at a cost of $3,097, based on enrollment.
• FINANCIAL—Sammy Stamm and Company was hired for a two-year contract to compile the district's financial statements for auditing. The cost will remain the same as last year at $2,000 a year.
• INTERNET—Board members approved a service agreement with the Northern Buckeye Education Council for internet access through June 30, 2016.
• COACHES—The following coaches were hired for spring season sports: varsity track, Paula Stambaugh and Andy Van Zile; junior high track, Adam Ohlemacher and Dave Conklin; varsity baseball, Ryan Colegrove and Bruce Miller.
• PERSONNEL—The board accepted the resignation of bus driver Cheryl Shaffer effective Jan. 22, 2013. Brian Fether was approved as a substitute bus driver, pending completion of licensing requirements.
• CLOSED—The board met in a closed session to discuss personnel issues.