Submitted by Bill Tipple
The Bellefontaine Board of Education toured the new Bellefontaine Elementary Preschool during their monthly meeting Monday night.
Preschool teachers Lauren Burkhardt and Bri Hughes led the presentation.
A few preschool students also played and talked with board members.
The preschool has been a huge success.
64 students (ages 3-5) attend the preschool, which opened last fall.
More than 70 students are being screened this week as part of the enrollment process for the next school year.
The preschool is looking to add an outdoor learning environment in the courtyard at BES.
The new space will include a toy post office, diner, donut shop, farm, and more for students to enjoy hands-on learning.
The new feature should be complete by the fall of ’24.
In other news, the board got their first look at the school calendars for ’23-’24 & ’24-’25.
Both calendars are similar to this school year. Classes will start after Labor Day and conclude by Memorial Day.
The board is expected to approve the calendars at the April board meeting.
Bellefontaine Mayor Ben Stahler shared some positive financial news.
Stahler presented a check for more than $77,000 to BCS. The funds are thanks to a program the city established several years ago.
Beginning in 2010, the City of Bellefontaine began the implementation of several Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Districts covering various parcels throughout the city. Today, there are four TIF Districts in the City of Bellefontaine.
TIFs are an economic development tool that comes into play when properties within the TIF District see an increase in property value, usually due to remodeling or new construction on the property. The increase in property tax collections resulting from the improvement is diverted to the city, which can then be used for investment in various public infrastructure and other improvements, which benefit the properties in the district.
Examples of work that can be accomplished using TIF dollars include, but are not limited to: curbs and sidewalks, sanitary and storm sewers, street lighting, parks, road construction, traffic control devices, and streetscapes.
The city began receiving revenue from these funds in 2014. To date, the funds have been used for various projects including street resurfacing and pedestrian crossings.
The City of Bellefontaine was pleased to present a check to Bellefontaine City Schools, which helps to offset revenue that they may have otherwise received had the TIF Districts not deferred a portion of collected property taxes to the city.
Stahler said, “We are thankful for the work that the TIF funds have allowed us to accomplish throughout our growing city and we are happy to be able to present Bellefontaine City Schools with this check tonight. The City of Bellefontaine and Bellefontaine City Schools have a long history of cooperation and partnership. We are grateful for that relationship, and this evening we celebrate that we are able to give back to the district in the form of this payment from our TIF funds.
“As our city continues to grow, we do expect that the revenue in our TIF funds will continue to increase over the coming years. We’re excited for the public work that we’ll be able to accomplish with these funds. We also recognize the importance of education in our community and will continue sharing this revenue with Bellefontaine City Schools for the life of our TIF Districts.”
Bellefontaine City Schools Superintendent Brad Hall added, “This is just one more example of how the school district and city work hand in hand to make our whole community a better place. These funds will be used to support student learning, and we are grateful to receive them from Mayor Stahler this evening.”
Following the preschool tour, board members finished the meeting in the BES Library.
Several updated board policies were approved.
In personnel, Christopher Green was hired as a substitute teacher.
The board accepted the resignations of educational aides Destiny Henry and Lyric Kindle, effective March 9th.
The board accepted the resignation of enrollment secretary Pam Patton, effective April 30th.
Sean Egler resigned as an assistant high school track coach.
Zoe Price was hired as an assistant high school track coach.
Richard McDaniel (high school track) and Tom Rose (high school baseball) were approved as volunteer coaches.
Finally, the board recognized March Seniors of the Month Landon Kelley and Sophie Adelsberger.
The next board meeting will be on April 17th at 6:30 p.m. in the Distance Learning Center at Bellefontaine High School.