SYCAMORE — The Mohawk Board of Education is second-thinking its recent adoption of the quality points system it implemented to rank members of its graduating class.
A parent, Shelly Coldiron, spoke about the flaws of the system during Monday night’s board meeting, and board member Todd Price gave a presentation on the problems he sees, which includes driving students away from taking classes at Mohawk.
The system was put in place, Price said, because in recent years, the high school had several students tie and all were named co-valedictorians even though the rigor of the class schedules they took was not equal.
Coldiron’s main complaint is that students are not aware of how the new system works. Because students need to accumulate as many quality points as possible to rank as high as possible, taking a study hall has a major negative impact on class rank, although it has no effect on grade-point average.
She said many students are not aware of the system and also that some students have a built-in advantage upon entering high school because only a limited number of them were able to earn points in eighth grade by taking Spanish 1 and algebra 1.
Price’s biggest problem with the current system is that it encourages students not to take classes at the high school because post secondary educational option classes are weighted so heavily.
He said the only classes available to juniors that earn them more quality points than PSEO classes are pre-calculus, chemistry and anatomy.
In addition, with students wishing to rank in the top 10 in the class basically unable to take a study hall, participation in after-school activities like sports, show choir and marching band will drop, he predicted.
“We’ve set the stage for students to run away from Mohawk,” Price said.
Price said Mohawk does not offer enough advanced level classes — advanced placement and duel enrollment — to keep students in the building.
Ultimately, he said the weighting system is “not for a small school with limited funds.”
His solution was to add more advanced classes and to form a committee of teachers who have no bias to set up the class rank system. It might be possible to rank students based on GPA but require them to meet certain other criteria, he said.
But he said the board should not be in a big hurry this time because that is what caused the problem before.
Separately, Price and Coldiron pointed out a mistake in advice given to a parent at least month’s board meeting. The parent was told his child could not get both high school and college credit under a certain PSEO option if the man pays for his own classes.
Coldiron presented information that states otherwise from the Ohio Department of Education’s website, while Price said he called to find out for sure.
Price said at first he was embarrassed that no one from the district could answer the question, but he found out a school law attorney was not sure either.
In other news, the board took the first step toward putting an additional levy on the ballot by declaring it necessary with a resolution.
Treasurer Roy Swartz said the proposed levy would raise the district about $176,000 a year and would cost a home owner $45.94 per $100,000 of valuation each year, which amounts to less than $4 per month on a $100,000 home.
Swartz also gave the five-year forecast update, which he said showed the district’s need for the money. He said the district likely would end this fiscal year spending slightly more than he took in, but as the years advance and more funds are lost, the deficit spending will increase.
Swartz said he and Superintendent Ken Ratliff have been in discussions how to make cuts to save the district and keep it in the black.
The report, which was adopted by the board, is to be made available on the district’s website today.
One thing the district does hope to add in spending is to build a greenhouse, Ratliff said.
He presented plans for the building, which he said ultimately would pay for itself. The cost of sending just two students to a cooperative program would pay the cost of building the greenhouse, in addition to benefitting many other students, he said.
Ratliff also gave thanks to the many area schools who offered counseling support, flowers and cards following the death of senior Audrey Perkins in a car accident last week.
“I can’t tell you how much it meant to us,” he said.
The board passed a resolution to extend condolences to Perkins’ friends and family.
The Mohawk soccer team received a donation of more than $3,700 at the meeting from the family of Levi Danner, a 21-year-old former student who also recently died in a car accident. The funds came from donations during his funeral.
Presentations also were given by Rose Hartschuh and the Mohawk FFA, Nelle Nutter on the elementary’s Fuel Up to 60 program that promotes healthy living and by elementary Principal Carl Long on the sixth grade outdoor education trip.
In board action, Brett Graham was issued a three-year administrative contract as junior high/high school principal beginning in 2012-13. It also approved transferring current Principal Carol Koehler to grades 3 and 4 social studies as per her request.
In other action, the board:
— Approved financial reports for April.
— Increased the appropriation for a student activity fund.
— Approved two FFA overnight trips and the 2013 senior class trip to New York City.
— Issued substitute teacher’s aide contracts to Dennis Eyestone, Melody Lambert and Stephanie Wininings.
— Approved the transfer of Jan Hall to grade 2 for next school year.
— Approved Charles Dietrich, social studies; Amanda Baker, science; and Amand Banta, reading/writing and math, as summer Ohio Graduation Test tutors.
— Accepted Eugene Margraf’s retirement as custodian.
— Approved supplemental contracts for John Arnold, junior varsity boys basketball coach; Crystal Bartley, high school quiz bowl adviser; Sunshine Cleveland, publications adviser; Shelly Coffman, junior high student council adviser; Lori Kalb, junior high and high school extended period supervisor for detention; Victor Parlier, Spanish Club adviser; Dana Riedel, summer elementary band; Michelle Snay, junior high honor society and quiz bowl adviser; and Zachary Golec, volunteer junior high school football coach.
— Approved cooperative agreements with the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center.
The board also tabled a resolution to approve the contract for Medicaid School Program services provided by NCOES.
By LONNIE McMILLAN