By Jim Painter
For the Troy Daily News
PLEASANT HILL — The Newton High School band and choir were given the go ahead to participate in two trips during the upcoming school year by the local board of education here Wednesday. The board also accepted the retirement resignation of a longtime district employee.
Matt Gaal, director of bands and choirs, told of an Oct. 8-9 trip planned to the Sandusky area. The band will perform at an unknown time during the trip, but will also visit Cedar Point Amusement Park.
Gaal explained hotel accommodations have been arranged in Port Clinton, due to higher rates in the Sandusky area.
He informed the board that 42 students were in the marching band this year.
Next March 15-19, Gaal and chaperones will be among choir members going to New York City. They plan to have study sessions with a college professor while in the city.
Gaal said the music boosters group has agreed to donate $7,000 to cover the cost of transportation for 50 people. Superintendent Pat McBride suggested the board agree to match the boosters’ donation from a special teacher’s fund to offset costs of the trip.
The board voted unanimously 4-0 (member Lane Robbins was absent) to forward the requested funds.
McBride reported that Judy Benson will be retiring as secretary to the superintendent, effective Jan. 31. Benson has been with the district for 33 years.
Due to compiled vacation time, Benson will be stepping away from the post prior to next January, McBride said.
The board then hired Brenda Walker for the position. She is currently employed in the Northmont City Schools District. Walker has 23 years experience and is expected to join the district on Sept. 19.
The board also approved a measure to pay teachers $200 per day for every day of unused personal days at the end of the upcoming school year. McBride said the move is expected to improve teacher attendance throughout the year.
In other business, the board:
• Heard Treasurer Nick Hamilton report the district end the 2015-16 school year with a balance of $3,530,984 in all funds. Of that, the ending balance for the General Fund was $2,456,256. In all, Hamilton reported the district ended in the black with $205,090.
• Increased the pay for all cafeteria staff by an additional $1 per hour.
• Approved a request to obtain school legal counseling services from Frost, Brown, Todd, LLC of Cincinnati. McBride said they also represent other area schools and understand the needs of smaller districts.
• Hired 10 employees for various substitute positions. They include MaryBeth George as long term first-grade; Aubrey Hughes, long term elementary physical education; and Esther Mwaura, Helen Boothe, Stephanie Koble, Natasha Deeter, Tiffany McBride, Elizabeth Morrow and Betty Schleinitz, as cafeteria workers.