Meade named president of Talawanda school board; meetings changed to Wednesdays

OXFORD — A new school board member took his seat, a new board president was elected and a new night for regular meetings was established as the Talawanda Board organized for business in 2022 on Monday, Jan. 10.

The annual organizational meeting was held prior to the January meeting of the board and the first order of business was for district treasurer and CFO Shaunna Tafelski to administer the oath of office to two board members elected to their seats in November.

Taking the oath of office for the first time was David Bothast alongside Patrick Meade who was beginning his second term on the board.

Minutes later, Meade was taking another oath of office following his election as president of the board for the coming year. He succeeds Chris Otto as board president. Elected vice president for the year was Dr. Rebecca Howard, who is in the middle of her first four-year term on the board of education.

Approved on a unanimous vote during the organizational meeting was a change of meeting night from Mondays to Thursdays for the board’s regular monthly meetings. They will be held at 7 p.m., generally on the third Thursday of the month, unless moved to a week earlier due to conflicts with the district calendar.

“I’m hoping to provide the same kind of leadership that Mr. Otto has done the past couple of years,” Meade said. “I’m hoping that we, as a board, can keep the needs of our students and staff at the forefront as we continue to deal with this pandemic and the district’s financial issues.”

Board meetings have been held on Mondays since the early 1970s when they were changed from Wednesday evenings but Superintendent Ed Theroux suggested this year’s change in hopes of getting agendas more current. He said Monday meetings require the agenda to be finished on Friday afternoons and then can require an amendment at the meeting for things such as personnel items to be added.

He presented the board with proposed schedules of 2022 meetings for both Mondays and Thursdays. The discussion began with Otto making a motion to approve the Monday schedule, drawing a second from Kathleen Knight-Abowitz. After Theroux explained his reasoning for proposing the Thursday list, the Monday motion was defeated on a 0-5 vote.

Howard said it is a trade-off for her. She said Monday meetings make for a long day for her but she has a regular Thursday meeting on the third Thursday of the month. She went along with the change, saying she thought that commitment could be switched.

Bothast summed up the discussion saying the justification for Thursday meetings was good.

Knight-Abowitz called the agenda changes a “heavy lift” for staff.

A vote to approve the Thursday schedule of meetings was approved on a 5-0 vote after a motion by Knight-Abowitz with a second by Bothast.

The board then moved on to a series of member assignments including four liaison positions and building representatives.

Bothast was named to serve as Student Achievement/Academic Liaison a position previously filled by Mary Jane Roberts who chose to not run for the board in November. The other three positions remain with members who filled them for the past year – Knight-Abowitz as Legislative Liaison, Howard as Arts and Athletics Liaison and Otto as Finance Committee Liaison.

Bothast will serve as Marshall Elementary building representative after noting he lives in that part of the district. Meade will represent Bogan Elementary and Otto will cover Kramer, with Howard for the middle school and Knight-Abowitz for the high school.

Meade will continue as the district representative to the Butler Tech board. He explained he was elected to a three-year term on that board as the Talawanda representative and has served two of those years. That position will be open next year for a board motion.

Also approved were five organizational resolutions and actions which are standard authorizations to operate the district. Included in the list were setting up a board service fund for members to attend professional meetings, a resolution waiving the reading of minutes of previous meetings and renewing the district’s legal counsel.

There was also a resolution adopting seven standing authorizations for the treasurer for the year and another nine for the superintendent. Those are approved each year to allow smooth operations and not require a lot of special meetings for routine business operations. The superintendent and treasurer report these actions later to the board.

The superintendent’s authorizations include such things as approving staff attendance at professional meetings and leaves of absence, employment of temporary personnel and approval of bus routes and stops.

The next scheduled meeting of the board will be Thursday, Feb. 17. Meade said the board typically schedules a work session to orient new board members about what is involved as well as to set priorities for the year. He said scheduling that meeting would come soon.


David Bothast (left) and Patrick Meade were administered the oath of office to begin new four-year terms on the Talawanda Board of Education Monday by district treasurer and CFO Shaunna Tafelski. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN

Dr. Rebecca Howard (left) was elected vice president of the Talawanda Board of Education for the coming year when the board held its organizational meeting Monday. Patrick Meade was chosen as president for the year. They are shown taking the oath for their respective offices. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN

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