School board member resigns, moving out of state; McDonald gives update on district’s relief funds

Published 11:20 am Tuesday, June 29, 2021

A Danville Board of Education member has resigned because he’s taking a job in Ohio. The board now has 60 days to appoint his replacement, so the search will start immediately.

Troy McCowan has served on the board for nearly 12 years, is a Danville High School alum, and his son and daughter are graduates as well. “I am an Admiral, through and through and always will be,” McCowan said at the end of last week’s school board meeting.

He said he and his wife and daughter will be moving to Cincinnati “to take on a different path in our lives.” Plus, his son, who just graduated from DHS will be attending the University of Northwestern Ohio, “So we won’t be far from him,” McCowan said.

He thanked all past and present board members, the superintendent, and everyone in the district who has supported him while serving on the school board.

“I have enjoyed my time on the board these past, almost 12 years, and I hope that the board will continue, the school system will continue, to strive for students’ success now and in the future.”

Board chair Steve Becker said, “Troy McCowan is the epitome of a board member. He is a true example of what a board member should be.”

After the meeting, McCowan said he and his wife and daughter are taking positions in a family-run healthcare business in Cincinnati. “It’s an opportunity for us to get out and spread our wings and do something a little different.”

He explained that the family’s healthcare business helps people who are disabled and “challenged adults with disabilities” live on their own.

McCowan said, “I’m ready for the challenge. We’re up for the challenge.”

ARP ESSER III funding

Superintendent Dr. Tammy McDonald gave the board a summary of coronavirus relief funds the district has received. She also stated a third fund was going to be available for the district to spend which will “help us overcome all of the challenges from COVID.”

The district has already received:

• GEAR (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness) funds which amounted to $93,762.

• ESSER I (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) fund of $546,586.

“The majority of those funds are already spoken for,” McDonald explained, and were received after the 2020 school year. The money was spent on PPE, face masks, sanitizer, plexiglass, and other COVID-related expenses.

• ESSER II fund was a bit over $2.7 million, McDonald said. “Most of that money is spoken for, too,” and has been budgeted for hiring more staff “to help us close the learning gap.”

A portion of  “these three pots of money” was also spent on technology, she added.

The last pot of money the school district will receive is named ARP (American Rescue Plan) ESSER III in the amount of $6,930,355.

McDonald said, “One of the things we’ve been doing with staff is having discussions about how we are going to spend the money, where is it needed the most for our students and our staff.”

She said they’ve had “in house” conversations with staff which mainly were about adding more staff and implementing summer and after school programs to help students who have fallen behind due to the pandemic interrupting classroom learning last school year.

She said the district also wants to get feedback from community members.

Board chair Steve Becker said he agreed that a community forum “would be time well spent.” But the forum wouldn’t just be to have community input on how to spend the money. “That’s part of it. And, just be informed with the district’s approach and how we are going to spend these funds. We will make sure information gets out as soon as possible.”

Right now, “funding is a moving target,” Becker said. “All of a sudden you have this money and the rules change.” He said the district hasn’t received all of the guidelines from the state and they “change constantly.”

District facilities plan hearing report

The 2021 District Facilities Plan was given final approval by the board following the final step of a public hearing that was held on June 16 where no one from the public attended.

According to the plan:

• Capital Construction Priorities within the 2022-2024 biennium include major renovation/additions of kitchens, cafeterias, libraries, administrative areas, auditoriums and gyms and HVAC renovations and repairs at Edna L. Toliver Intermediate School, John W. Bate Middle School and Danville High School. Renovations will also include addition of guardrails at the three buildings and repair the elevator at DHS.

Capital construction priorities – regardless of schedule – include the central maintenance and storage facility ($593.912); central bus garage ($1,236,843; and Gore House storage facility ($330.819).

District needs include for discretionary construction projects for:

• Major renovations at Admiral Stadium ($931,500); addition of two restrooms ($176.859); maintenance area ($176,859); storage area ($176,859); addition of concession area ($53,058).

• Provide additional parking at various athletic fields ($275,000).

• Provide concession ($44,215) and restroom buildings ($106.115) at the softball complex.

Retirees honored

The following school district employees who retired in 2020 and 2021 were given a reception before the board meeting, and were honored by their supervisors, board members, and the superintendent. The were: Christel Belcher, Pam Brown, Patricia Calvert, Darlene Chambers, Walker Dean, Christy Denny, Connie Doughty, Phyllis Dunn, Danny Gadberry, Sadie Gambrel, Susan Goggin, Kenny Grubbs, Carolyn Grubbs, Joyce King, Elaine Lanham, Judie Mason, Kathy Mathews, Ed McKinney, Anna Simpson-Houston, William Sivers,  Vivian Troxler, Jeff Trueblood, Mary Vonderbrink, Beverly Wolfe, and Debra Wulf.