Financial forecast approved; Swanton residents voice coach concerns

By Drew Stambaugh - [email protected]

Swanton parent Jeremy Smigelski speaks at Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting.

Swanton parent Jeremy Smigelski speaks at Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting.

A five-year financial forecast was approved and multiple people voiced concerns about a coach at Wednesday’s Swanton Board of Education meeting.

The forecast from Treasurer Joyce Kinsman shows the district is in relatively good shape, assuming current levy money continues. With those levies, the district would continue to have a positive year end balance through the forecast.

Kinsman said that there are still uncertainties with the forecast because the impact of changes made in the Ohio General Assembly’s most recent budget is not yet known.

One known positive for district funds is in the area of income tax collection. After an 8.6% decrease in income tax during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, things appear to be getting back to normal. “We should be back to the same level we were.” said Kinsman.

The treasurer said she would likely have an update for the board early next year, when more is known about the figures from the state.

At the start of the meeting, 10 people, mostly parents, provided the Board of Education with reasons not to renew the contract of head varsity football coach Denton Saunders. Although the Bulldogs have just three wins in three seasons under Saunders, the reasons given were not related to on field results.

“First thing is, I’m just really disappointed that a lot parents had to take time out of their busy schedules to come do something that we feel that leadership should of took care of before we got to this spot,” said Jeremy Smigelski, who spoke first.

He said the kids want a change and they were ready to quit during the season. “They only came back because they were forced to come back because they were threatened with [losing] Homecoming.”

Handling of injuries was among the issues Smigelski brought up.

“The biggest reason I am asking the board not to renew his contract is that I feel like he doesn’t care about the kids,” Smigelski said.

Erin Pawlowicz said she attended and spoke at the meeting because “our kids deserve better. They deserve to play the game that they’ve loved since the third grade without being in the toxic environment he’s brought.”

She told Board members she will move her son out of the district if there is not a change. “I’m not having another son go through this same thing,” she said.

Jill Harris simply read the beginning of Bullying, Harassment, and Intimidation section of the school handbook. “The Board of Education is committed to providing a safe, positive, productive, and nurturing educational environment for all of its students,” she said. “The Board encourages the promotion of positive interpersonal relationships between members of the school community. Harassment, intimidation, or bullying towards a student, whether by other students, staff, or third parties is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. This prohibition includes aggressive behavior, physical, verbal, and psychological abuse.”

Following the public comments, Board President Kris Oberheim told the audience there was no action scheduled at the meeting, related to the topic. No comments were made by Board members.

Other business

• The Board discussed allowing substitute teachers who do not have bachelor’s degrees.

A shortage of substitute teachers around the state led to the creation of regulations allowing it for this school year. A non-degree holding substitute can apply for a nonrewable one-year temporary license which would allow them to work in classrooms in place of regular teachers.

The Board seemed open to the idea so Superintendent Chris Lake will have the resolution language approved by an attorney, and will bring it back to the Board for approval, likely in December.

• An increase in school lunch prices for adults was approved. The price will go from $3.25 to $4.25.

Student lunches and breakfasts are free this year.

• Personnel items approved by the Board included the retirement of third grade teacher Laurie Sugg, effective Dec. 31. A five-year administrative contract for Kristi Molter was also approved.

Supplemental contracts approved included Jennifer Schmidt, middle school quiz bowl advisor; Denton Saunders and Zach Walls, co-strength and conditioning for winter and spring; Dylan Worley, seventh grade boys basketball; Jacob Reisinger, middle school wrestling; Jeff Taylor, freshman/assistant wrestling; Nick Staler, bowling; and Adam Pollard, assistant wrestling coach.


Molter reported that an after school program began at the elementary school on Nov. 2 and will run through mid May. There are currently 10 third graders and 10 kindergarten students.

• Matt Smith, middle school principal, reported that the second round of the Amazing Shake was at at the Andersons headquarters and has been narrowed down to the top 11.

He also said that Pete LuPiba from the State Office presented the school with a challenge coin acknowledging it as renewing Purple Star status as well as being one of the founding 8 members in Ohio.

In addition, Kevin Heintschel was honored at the Ohio Middle Level Association conference as an outstanding teacher for all of his work with his special education students and work on the PD committee.

• In his report, high school principal Jason Longbrake welcomed new teacher Joe Pennington. He has previously taught math at several locations and was an assistant principal at Defiance for two years.

Swanton parent Jeremy Smigelski speaks at Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting. parent Jeremy Smigelski speaks at Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting.

By Drew Stambaugh

[email protected]

Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010

Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010