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Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

New position would help non-English speakers

Celina schools

By Doug Drexler
CELINA - School officials may create a full-time teaching position to help 60 students who do not speak English as a primary language.
Celina City Schools district has the equivalent of five and a half full-time English tutors to help the students who speak other languages, superintendent Jesse Steiner said at a board of education meeting Tuesday night. The board would like to merge some of the positions into one teaching position without additional costs, he said.
The district has a large number of students from the Marshall Islands and other students from Uzbekistan and Africa recently moved into the district, Steiner said. About seven languages other than English are primary to the students, he said.
No action was taken.
The board also discussed creating a mobile app for distributing district messages and adding advertising to the notices to raise money.
Superintendent Jesse Steiner said a bank had discussed adding a brief advertising blurb to Leader Alert phone messages. He did not support the idea but said officials are considering creating a mobile app for sharing the messages. He suggested the district could add a scroll ad at the bottom of the message screen.
The proposed mobile app would not be ready for at least a year because the district first is focusing on improving its website, he said. Technology coordinator Keith Gudorf is busy with repairs and has little time to improve the website, Steiner said.
Board member Connie Paulus asked if a high school class could be tasked with maintaining the district's website.
"That's the plan," Steiner said.
He asked if board members wanted a branding professional look over the district's logos and letterheads to help create a unified look. A consultant crafted the "W" that Wapakoneta schools now uses uniformly, Steiner said, adding he was unsure of the cost.
Board member Matt Gilmore said he is on the board of Wernle Youth and Family Treatment Center, and a similar study there cost $5,000 to $7,000.
"I think there is some worth to that," Gilmore said.
The center had several sites and each was using its own letterhead, he said. After uniformity, it is now obvious all the documents are from the center, Gilmore noted.
Paulus and board member Amy Hoyng asked if a consultant was necessary or if all administrators simply could be instructed to use one logo. Paulus backed only using the logo with the shield and a "C" over three lines, which is used on the district's website.
Gilmore said a consultant would look at more than just the logo and could be beneficial.
"Is it worth at least getting a quote?" he asked.
Board members asked Steiner to find out how much a consultant would cost.
After an executive session that lasted more than two hours, Steiner said the district is considering bringing back a secretary for treasurer Mick Davis.
The treasurer's secretary position was not filled following a retirement in December 2012, Steiner said. However, the state's recent change from requiring students to attend a set number of days to a set number of hours has created a huge accounting workload, he said. The district had contracted with the state auditor for compilation of financial statements for the district's fiscal year ending June 30 to handle the extra work.
In other business, Steiner said the district needs to raise about $125,000 to match a state grant to convert Westview Park's Jim Hoess Field into a high school softball field. The district has raised about $22,000 through commemorative brick sales and donations, he said.
The project would move the primary field closer to the backstop to fit softball field dimensions, Steiner said.
The state grant also would fund the creation of three new fields, allowing the district to host tournaments, Steiner previously said. Recreation leagues also could use the field for soccer, he said.
If the softball team moves from its current field, Eastview Field 3 would be converted into a junior varsity baseball diamond, he said.  
Donations can be directed to the district treasurer's office, where a fund already is in place, he said. If extra money is raised, plans also may include the addition of batting cages and placement of the dugouts to meet the field's new dimensions, Steiner said.
Steiner said a building committee is still being formed to review a plan to consolidate the district's seven buildings into three. The board will wait until hearing the committee's report before deciding how and if to proceed with funding for the project, he said. A bond issue would not be placed on the ballot before 2016 if board members opt to move forward on the project.
Additional online story on this date
CELINA - A state law prohibiting flashing strobe lights is stupid and dangerous, city council president Jason King said Monday night.
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