The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

February 21, 2014

Geneva BOE creates scholarship, reaches deal with OAPSE

GENEVA — The Geneva Area City Schools Board of Education established a new, one-time scholarship for the 2014 graduating class.

Geneva High School received a donation of $7,011.03 through Key Private Bank on behalf of the Melinda F. Smyth Education Trust. The trust is out of Cleveland and is being dissolved and distributed to Ashtabula County schools said Treasurer Kevin Lillie.

“We received a letter dated Dec. 18, but we didn’t receive it until the beginning of February,” he said. The board moved to accept the donation and establish the Melinda F. Smyth Education Trust Scholarship Fund at Wednesday’s regular meeting.

The trust donation letter stipulated that the scholarship be awarded “to graduating seniors who are otherwise less fortunate in obtaining a scholarship,” and that the recipients are registered as full-time students at accredited colleges or universities.

The scholarship will be paid directly to the institution once proof of registration is provided. Lillie said the high school guidance office and/or the Scholarship Committee will establish any further criteria and rules for distribution.

Superintendent Mary Zappitelli said, “We’re very grateful for any funding that we can make available to help our students.”

The board also approved the tentative three-year negotiated agreement for the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, OAPSE Local 307 during Wednesday’s meeting.

OAPSE 307 President Ann Craig said, “It’s been a long journey and with the help of Federal Mediator, Doug Corwon, the school board and OAPSE Local 307, which consists of classified staff, were able to reach the best agreement possible at this time. We know that times are hard for everyone and we thank the board for their time and commitment.”

The agreement includes a one percent increase to the base salary in each year of the contract along with increases in employee contributions to health care premiums. Classified employees will see an increase in their share of the health care premiums in the first two years of the contract and an additional increase in the third year.

The increase is the first to the base since the 2010-11 school year, Zappitelli said. Steps for experience on the salary index will remain frozen.

Board president Edward Brashear said, “We are pleased that we were able to not only reach an agreement, but also to find a path to a three-year contract. We are very fortunate to have fine people supporting our students and serving with care and compassion.”

The board also moved to revise the current school year calendar to reflect April 21 as a make-up instructional day for a calamity day if needed. Zappitelli said the district has already used nine calamity days. “We’ve broken the record; we’ve been keeping track since 1999,” she said.

Winner of the local VFW post’s Voice of Democracy Speech Contest, Kateline Peck, presented her speech before the board. Brashear called her presentation “a wonderful, refreshing reminder of why we’re up here.”

In other business the board decided to merge the district’s Local Professional Development Committee with the county committee. “If approved, all seven school districts will be under one committee,” Zappitelli said. One teacher and one administrator will represent the district, as well as two alternates.

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