Nine percent raises for all staff and administrative personnel, plus a plan to spend about $2.7 million for new artificial athletic turf, were approved by the Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education at Monday’s meeting.
Superintendent Tim Davis said the raises became effective July 1 for non-certified staff members, whose union has already approved the raises. He said the raises for members of the Hillsboro Education Association, which represents the teachers and had not approved the raises as of Monday night, will become effective Aug. 1 as long as they are approved.
“We’re trying to do what is best for our employees, within our means, and I think we’ve done,” said Davis, who earlier commented that, “we want to attract good employees and keep the employees we have.”
The new artificial turf will be placed on the soccer field at the high school/middle school campus and the infields only of new baseball and softball diamonds the district hopes to have ready to play on next spring.
The grass at the Richards Memorial Field, where home football games are played, is not being replaced.
The new baseball and softball fields will be located where a practice soccer field is currently located on the south side of the tennis courts. The turf work there is expected to begin toward the end of October and hopefully will be done by the beginning of April in time for the spring sports season.
Davis said the turf will allow the teams to play more games. He also said turf is only being placed on the infield of the baseball and softball fields because the district did not want to spend another $1.5 million to turf the outfields.
Board president Bill Myers added, “One of our concerns over the years is moving (as many activities as we could) back to the high school and this one project will have us not having to move our students back across town.”
For decades the baseball and softball teams have played their home games at Richard Shaffer Park on the opposite end of town from the school.
Davis the cost for the turf project does not include things like dugouts, chain link fences and backstops.
“We want to put a field together that allows us to play here and we can address those other improvements in the future,” Davis said.
The athletic fields are already tiled and irrigated.
Davis said that for the time being portable bleachers will be placed on concrete pads at the baseball and softball fields.
He said the new fields still leave “a generous area” for varsity and junior high school football practices at the school site.
Before the vote on the artificial turf was taken, board member Larry Lyons asked whether with other new expenditures already approved, the board could have another month to consider the project.
“I don’t want to be the one to hold it up, but that’s a pretty sizeable expenditure,” Lyons said.
Davis said if the district waited another month he was afraid that might put the project behind schedule.
Treasurer Ben Teeters told Lyons he was confident the school district had the money to move ahead with the project.
The board voted unanimously to approve the project.
In his report to the board, Davis said the district playgrounds now have a rubberized surface as opposed to the former wood mulch surface.
“I can’t say enough about the improvements we made to the playgrounds,” Davis said. “It just makes the whole place look better.”
In March, the school board approved paying for the playground project with $678,278 in COVID-19 relief funds.
Davis also reported that a new epoxy type surface has been added to the school hallways that should look better and be more easy to clean, the high school gym floor has been refurbished with a complete new design, most of both buildings’ HVAC systems have been replaced, and the offices and classrooms have new LED lighting.
The new LED light is very bright, Davis said, and teachers will have the ability to adjust the brightness in their classrooms.
He said the school district has made pamphlets highlighting the students’ academic and athletic achievements during the past school year that will be placed in doctor’s offices and other places where people have time to review them while they wait.
“We’re very proud of the way the district is going with test scores and getting through COVID,” Davis said.
The superintendent also said new signage, purchased by local businesses and individuals, is going up around Richards Memorial Field and at other locations in the school district. He said there are three levels of sponsorship and anyone interested should contact athletic director Brett Prince.
“We want to thank our community for supporting us,” Davis said.
He noted that the first day back to school for teachers is Aug. 9, and the first day back for students is Aug. 17.
The board approved the following resignations: teacher Jill Barnett, middle school principal Kim Beam, and teachers Jeremy Hatfield and Bruce Robson, all effective at the end of the 2021-22 school year; and assistant boys basketball coach Quentin Williams effective July 15.
The board approved the following contracts: special education supervisor Kim Beam on a two-year contract; intervention specialists Marissa Hamilton and Trista Rhodes, both on one-year contracts; and teacher Olivia Page on a one-year contract.
The board approved the following supplemental contracts: Brandon Ballein, middle school boys cross country; Melissa Boysel, Camp Joy coordinator (split); Carey Juillerat, middle school girls basketball; Ed Letts, varsity girls cross country; Nathan Rutledge, reserve girls basketball; Rob Snavely, varsity boys cross country; and Michelle Williams, Camp Joy coordinator (split).
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.