The new Sam Barnhouse Center and concession/restroom buildings at Hillsboro High School have received occupancy permits and should be ready for full use by the turn of the year, superintendent Jim Smith said at Monday’s Hillsboro Board of Education meeting.
During his report to the board, Smith said Hillsboro cheerleaders practiced in the Sam Barnhouse Center, a weight and training center that also will be used as the practice wrestling facility, a couple nights last week when there was a play at their regular practice location in the high school cafeteria. He said there are still some large items like wrestling mats and pads for the walls that need to be installed, but other than it’s pretty much ready for use.
Smith said there are some plumbing issues with cold and hot water in the concession building, but other than that it’s about completed, too.
The superintendent also said the Hillsboro Band Boosters concession building at Richards Memorial Field is pretty much shot and will be demolished and replaced. He said the boosters are considering replacing the current structure with a “yard barn.” He said it would have to be wired for electric service.
The school district has saw a downturn in the percentage of students receiving free and reduced price lunches. Smith said the district was at 57 percent last year and is down to 51.3 percent this year. He said that could be due to some students not turning in the required paperwork, or maybe to an uptick in the economy.
In other news from the meeting, the board approved an increase in pay for substitute teachers to $115 a day, and $125 a day for substitutes after 30 consecutive days. Both increases will be effective Jan. 5, 2017. Smith said the increase brings Hillsboro up to the same level of substitute pay as the Greenfield schools and should also help with a substitute shortage issue.
The board recognized senior Spencer Brown for being named a National Merit finalist and sophomore Kristin Jamieson for qualifying for the state golf tournament. Snively said both students are successful in the classroom and in athletics, and that they “are both testaments to what we have to offer our students if they’re willing to put the time and investment into it.”
During the committee reports portion of the meeting, board member Tom Milbery said he was encouraged by two recent events he was invited to be part of – a meeting between Hillsboro and Greenfield student council members after an event at a season-ending football game that drew national attention for a sign that referenced the Trail of Tears; and a visit to an eighth grade language arts class to see how students are utilizing the hundreds of Chromebooks the district has purchased.
“After hearing the youngsters, I understand why I love living in Highland County,” Milbery said of the student council meeting.
Of the Chromebooks, Milbery said, “It was amazing to witness the educational efficacy which these Chromebooks provide. The teacher can monitor and communicate with any child during the class; moreover, students have the capacity to incorporate research and search tools to expand their written expressions. They can also collaborate with their peers as they work. Toward the conclusion of the class, students were excited to share with me their thoughts about the new Chromebooks. The comments were 100 percent positive.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.