PIQUA – After voting unanimously to reject the bids received for the summer construction project at the junior and senior high schools, the Piqua City Schools Board of Education on Thursday approved a trio of resolutions that will allow some of the more pressing repairs and upgrades to be made at Piqua High School.
Jeremie Hittle, treasurer and chief financial officer, said the bids received for the project were $300,000 to $400,000 more than the district had projected. “That’s over the legal threshold for us to accept them,” he explained, adding that the project will be rebid out next summer, which will allow time to get more competitive bids.
In the interim, three Urgent Necessity Resolutions were passed: one to address repairs to the external envelope surrounding PHS; another to replace the fire alarm and public announcement systems; and a third to purchase furniture including student desks and chairs, art and science tables, and handicapped-accessible desks to replace the current furnishings, which are original to the building.
The board also approved entering into an agreement with SecurCom to install door access points at the schools. This system would provide each staff member and administrator with an access fob instead of a key to enter school buildings, thus eliminating the need to make copies of keys, District Superintendent Dwayne Thompson said.
In the absence of PHS Principal Rob Messick, assistant principals Darrell Hite and Jon Shoffstall gave a brief building update. Shoffstall noted that they are continuing to focus on Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS), which encourages students to be respectful, responsible, and kind to one another. Since the implementation of PBIS, there has been a “significant reduction in discipline (issues),” Shoffstall said.
He also shared that PHS seeks new ideas for PBIS from other schools – e.g., Lima High School, which he recently visited – that have implemented the proactive approach.
In the wake of the success of the high school’s 84-minute algebra block, a language arts block for incoming freshmen will be in place at the beginning of the next academic year, Hite said. He explained the importance of early identification of students who need this time in order to not fall behind and require remediation in their later high school years.
There were numerous guests at the meeting, some with familiar faces and others new to the district. PHS valedictorian Juliya Hsiang, along with salutatorians Jordan Booker and Ashley Ho (salutatorian Kaitlyn Evans was not present), attended the meeting, as did numerous new hires who will take their positions in the 2017-18 school year.
Thompson recognized two employees who are retiring from the district after many years. Roberta Conley will retire from her position as a library aide at Washington Primary School, and James Conley will be leaving his post as a technology aide with degree.
“I’ve really enjoyed the last 40 years here at Piqua,” said James Conley, who Thompson called “an asset to this district.”
Board member Bob Luby, who recalled working with Conley at the old Bennett Intermediate School – “when computers weighed about 30 pounds each” – said, “Jim was a very dedicated, loyal employee … very skilled.”
Thursday’s board meeting can be viewed online at www.piqua.org/Boxcast.aspx. The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, at the Board of Education offices, 719 E. Ash St., Piqua.
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341