Tusky Valley board approves facility dogs for every building

Tusky Valley board approves facility dogs for every building

The Tuscarawas Valley Board of Education approved Heidi Varansky and Lisa Owen as facility dog handlers and Jason Phillips and Beth Widder as secondary handlers during the April 8 board meeting. The board also approved travel and training in Atlanta, Georgia from April 21-27 for board member Amy Burrier and Derek Varansky to travel and attend training with the handlers on behalf of the district.

The dogs will probably be Goldendoodles and their ages 18-24 months. The dogs are coming from Caine Assistance in Atlanta, a nonprofit organization.

“The dogs will be able to sense a child that is struggling. Dogs seem to calm a child’s fears,” Varansky said. “The handler will know all the commands for the dogs. The dogs will serve the entire district, have all their vaccines and will always be on a leash. The handlers are part of the crisis response team. There is no cost to the district.

“There will be a dog in the school every day. If a teacher is not comfortable with a dog in their classroom, that request will be honored. We want to get the dogs to bond with the handlers and be in the schools by early May and before graduation. The goal is to have dogs attend all events. In the fall the schedule for the dogs will be complete.”

In another matter the board issued a three-year supervisor limited contract for Scott Pennell, transportation and building/grounds supervisor, and the revised corresponding salary schedule, effective Aug. 1, 2024, to July 31, 2027.

At a previous special meeting, the board passed a resolution for the abatement and demolition of the Bolivar and Mineral City buildings at a cost of $1,255,749.

The board also did the following:

—Issued certificated teaching contracts to John Blile, Ann Brideweser and Julie Mace and nonteaching contracts to Tricia Adams, Lawrence Leshon, Keri Loveday, Page Reichman and Sherry Secoy.

—Accepted donations/grants for $832 for Spanish classes, $150 for Garaway Middle School Student Council and band, $240 for OSDA/NSDA VIS Elite Sport Wear and speech, and $100 for Louise Levengood, Class of 2028.

—Granted one-year supplemental contracts to certified employees Melissa Unklesby, Jason Phillips, Ciera Newell, Jennifer Gardner, Matt Gray and Brenton Franks, D.C. trip chaperones.

—Issued a one-year supplemental contract to contracted employee Tanya Finney, assistant track.

—Accepted the resignation of Greg Dickerhoof, middle/high school assistant principal, effective June 21, and April Ernst, English/language arts teacher, effective June 7.

—Approved an unpaid leave of absence to Tracey Terry from March 21 through April 22.

—Issued seven temporary summer employee contracts at $15 per hour up to eight hours a day from June 7 to Aug. 30.

—Approved 18 Ohio Association Public School Employees transfers such as office workers and cooks, effective Aug. 1.

—Approved the updated use of facilities form in accordance with board policy 7550 and established revised rates for rental of district fees.

—Approved out-of-state trips for the high school speech and debate team to Tournament of Champions at University of Kentucky April 20-22, NIETOC in Nebraska May 10-13, and National Speech and Debate Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa June 16-22.

—Issued a three-year certificated/license contract to Kayla Kopp for seventh-grade math.

—Entered into a one-year performance service agreement with Honeywell International Inc. for preventive maintenance of temperature control/automation, mechanical and special provision for the elementary and bus garage, effective Nov. 1, 2023, to Oct. 3, 2024, at a cost of $35,762.

Other information

The board recognized Student of the Month recipients Teagan Perkowski, high school; Sarah Warren, fine artist; Josiah Vlacovsky, seventh grade; Sidney Bosler, eighth grade; Cam McCoy, freshman; Peyton Lake, sophomore; and Conner Greene, junior.

The next meeting will be held May 13 at 6 p.m. in the elementary Trojan Center at 2632 Tusky Valley Road in Zoarville.

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