Frontier board briefed on Senate Bill 216

NEW MATAMORAS– Frontier Local Schools Board of Education stood behind Ohio Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, on a piece of legislation currently making its way through state legislature.

“It gives us, and smaller (population-wise) districts like us greater flexibility,” said Brian Rentsch, Frontier superintendent. “And it releases over-regulation on our regular classroom teachers for the gifted and talented professional development hours.”

Senate Bill 216, called the Ohio Public School Deregulation act, was introduced to address problems with mandated regulations across the state.

The school board said in its resolution that the bill would help by:

¯ Eliminating barriers to employing high quality teachers.

¯ Eliminating the unnecessary duplication of tests used to assess student learning,

¯ Providing a more accurate method (paper test) of assessing a third-grade student’s ability to read and write versus their technical ability on the high stakes third grade reading test.

¯ Requiring the national testing service to provide meaningful information for teachers to use to help children learn and grow,

¯ Restoring the rights of parents to have some control over their children’s attendance.

¯ Restoring the ability of school boards to enforce education policy that meets local community needs,

¯ Consolidating and streamlining state reporting requirements to reduce time expended on unproductive paperwork, and providing relief from other mandates that have accumulated over time.

“One of the best parts of this is would be the way licenses are set up,” said Rentsch.

Currently licensing is set up for Pre-K through third grade, fourth through ninth, and seventh through twelfth.

“But this would go just K-8 and 6-12,” he explained. “That gives us greater flexibility with where we can fill positions.”

He also said “over-testing” would be eliminated if the bill becomes law.

“It’s just the additional amount of tests kids are taking, it’s really an overabundance right now,” said Rentsch. “It would eliminate the mandated kindergarten test, and there are so many other hoops that we’re going through that it eliminates which would get us back to just teaching.”

Rentsch said currently the district has 633 students between the three buildings: New Matamoras Elementary, Newport Elementary and Frontier Middle and High School.

Football issues

The board was also addressed by several parents and community members concerning the next season of varsity football at Frontier High School. The head coach position, along with two football high school assistant, middle school football coach and assistant, head high school volleyball coach and assistant and middle school volleyball and assistant coach positions were all concluded Monday as per the year-long, supplemental non-renewable contracts in place with the teachers filling those additional roles.

“All coaches are on a supplemental contract,” explained board member Kurt Bohlen after the meeting. “Once the season is over their contract ends so the new one can begin and we can get started on the next year’s season quicker.”

But parents and community members present were under the impression that head football coach Johnny Schmidt was not expected to be hired back on for the coming season.

“Johnny came into a mess, we had behavioral problems before he straightened those boys out,” said Becky Smitley, a parent of Frontier students. “Without him you’re losing the best guy you got. These kids have a brotherhood because of him.”

However, board president Dustin Hoff said the position hadn’t even been posted as of Monday night.

It was scheduled to be opened today alongside the other positions for applications and the final decision will not be made on the coaching staff for fall sports until the next board meeting on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.

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