Bexley News

Bexley Board of Education

Issues of staffing, bike racks under review

Using OSBA's help to review wording of policy considered

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Despite a slight fluctuation in enrollment projected for next year, Bexley City Schools officials aren't projecting any changes in teacher staffing.

Superintendent Michael Johnson presented board members last week with the latest straight-line enrollment projection figures by grade and building, predicting a drop in enrollment next year by 38 students districtwide.

The slight trend downward calls for one fewer teacher, although Johnson said that would likely come through attrition.

The latest numbers released by Johnson predict an enrollment of 2,089 in the district next year as opposed to 2,127 this year. The totals called for 112 teachers this year and 111 next year.

Johnson reminded board members that the numbers do not include art, music, physical education, early literacy, special education, guidance, library, health or elementary gifted staffing.

When asked about the slight downward trend, Johnson said, "It's pretty normal."

Johnson also presented board members with a review of his personal goals from last year, citing significant success in their implementation. The document included Johnson's proposed goals for the 2012-13 school year, among which is the continued support of improvement throughout the district, including maintaining an "excellent" rating; continued effective communication with both internal and external audiences; meeting the cultural, social/emotional and safety needs of students, staff and community members; and due diligence in pursuing financial efficiency while maintaining high-quality educational programs within the district.

"Bexley's academic requirements are some of the most advanced of any Ohio or private school," said Johnson in his letter to school board President Carol Fey. "Our students receive academic support and opportunities characterized by a highly personal educational experience. Students, parents and community members tell us over and over that Bexley's small size means everyone has a chance to shine and develop their unique talents."

In other business, board members continue to consider how to place new bike racks at schools around the district.

John Eikenberry, Bexley's business office manager, presented the board with a number of photos of what areas around the district's schools would look like with a sample of the low-key bike racks.

Board members and district officials hope to encourage more use of bikes by students, volunteers and visitors within the district. But there continues to be a concern about how the racks might look, whether they will blend in with the neighborhoods, and how much they will be used.

Several board members also expressed concern about reserving enough racks for volunteers who might bike to school events, but stopped short of asking for signs designating certain racks for volunteers and visitors only.

"We're going for a soft look, yet functional," Eikenberry said.

No concrete pads will be used in the installation.

In the board's continuing effort to streamline members' duties, the panel heard a proposal from Johnson to contract out all or part of its policy review function.

Board members have been spending a significant amount of time reviewing and updating district policy, sometimes changing the wording significantly. Often, board members merely update and change policy to reflect changes in district procedure, spending significant amounts of time on grammar and spelling.

Johnson gave board members three quotes on packages provided by the Ohio School Boards Association, which reviews policies for many districts throughout the state in varying degrees.

The packages range from $4,000 to $10,800.

Bexley's neighboring district, Whitehall, already uses the association's services to update their policies on an annual basis.

Board members asked Johnson to invite a representative from the OSBA to answer questions about the services in April before they make a final decision on the proposal.

The next regular monthly meeting is scheduled for April 15.

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