Columbiana BOE elects officers

COLUMBIANA – The board of education met this week without Randy Guy and Dr. Jay Hertel for the first time in years. In their places were Michael Clark and Scott Caron, who were elected at the November election. Guy and Hertel did not run for re-election.

District Treasurer Lori Posey administered the oath of office to the men and board member Kelly Witmer, who was re-elected.

The new board then elected Mark Hutson president and Tony Roncone vice-president.

Superintendent Don Mook gave credit to the board, noting January is school board recognition month. He also thanked Guy and Hertel for their years of service.

“School board members work countless hours … their ultimate goal is always focus on the future success of children of the Columbiana School District,” he said.

Board members were each given a carnation and a certificate.

During the organizational meeting they approved keeping meeting dates and times the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the high school media center, and continuing membership in the Inter-Tri-County League through the close of the 2014-15 school year.

A new head track coach was hired during the regular meeting immediately following the organizational meeting.

Robert Altenhof will serve as coach of the varsity boys and girls track teams, replacing the one who left the district last year for a position elsewhere.

High School Principal Lance Hostetler said Altenhof has spent the last several years coaching in the West Branch School District.

According to the district’s website Altenhof has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Geneva College and a Master’s in School Counseling from Malone College. He has been employed with the district since 1981 as an English teacher, guidance counselor and coach.

His coaching experience includes track and football, and he has coached at West Branch for 30 years. He is currently an assistant football coach at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa., coaching defensive backs, according to the site.

His compensation for the Columbiana position has not been set yet.

The board also approved:

-A contract change from probationary to regular for Peggy Mills, custodian, effective Jan. 17.

– Hutson as Columbiana County Career and Technical Center board member for a three-year term.

– Christine Lapika as substitute teacher, Justin Hoffman as substitute support staff, Rob Hall as 8th grade girls basketball coach volunteer and Rebecca Buchheit and Jessica Winters as Joshua Dixon Elementary classroom volunteers.

– The high school academic challenge team trip to the Small National Championship Tournament in Minneapolis, Minnesota May 2-5.

– Annual membership dues for the Ohio School Boards Association in the amount of $3,300.

The next meeting was set for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 11.

A tax budget hearing held before the organizational meeting Monday received no public response. According to the budget the district is projecting an ending cash fund balance of $2.3 million by the end of this fiscal year, with expenditures exceeding revenues by approximately $275,000.

The district is anticipated to have a cash balance of $2.4 million in 2015 since revenues are projected to be slightly higher than expenditures. The first half of fiscal year 2016 shows the district’s revenues falling short of expenditures by about $50,000.

Posey said the district is collecting on 20 mills of the 28.9 permanent mills approved by voters before 1981. The collection was decreased to 20 by House Bill 920 passed in 1976, she explained.

The 4.6 inside millage is being put toward paying off the debt on the high school and securities for renovations of the elementary building, she said.

“We definitely showed the need for all taxes assessed for the year,” she said of the budget.

She also said no questions were submitted to her prior to the budget meeting.

The district collects about $3 million in general property taxes annually and $1.7 million in income taxes.