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Brookfield fills empty board seat

Superintendent discusses floor remediation

BROOKFIELD — The Brookfield Board of Education has named Derek Mihalcin as its newest member, filling the seat made vacant with the retirement last month of longtime member George Economides.

Mihalcin will serve through December 2023.

School officials said no one filed petitions to run for the seat in the November general election. Other applicants were David DeJoy and Christine Smoot.

Board President Sarah Kurpe said the three individuals were “all strong candidates, which made the decision difficult.”

Mihalcin, 46, a psychologist at Oakwood Counseling Center who has worked in the mental health field for 22 years, said he has thought about serving on the board for several years, but felt he did not have the time to dedicate to it with his job and family.

He said his two sons are older and attend the middle school. He also serves as soccer coach and vice president of the local youth soccer league.

“I have been active with the schools in many ways,” Mihalcin said.

Mihalcin said he would like to get more parent involvement with the schools and improve communication with parents and the community. He said he will work with school officials and the board on school projects.

Mihalcin said he has done presentations nationwide training school administrators and teachers, and has served on the county’s behavioral board for the Trumbull County Board of Developmental Disabilities. He also was a former world history teacher.

Economides, who served as a board member for 24 years, was recognized as the board office meeting room was named the “George Economides Board Meeting Room.”

FLOOR REMEDIATION

In other business, the board heard from Superintendent Toby Gibson who reported this week WJE, the firm doing the planning for the middle school floor remediation, is finalizing the plans for the project so the district can begin seeking bids in February. He said officials are in contact with the Ohio School Facilities Commission on available funding for the project.

The floor in a section of the hallway, restroom and classroom has raised and cracked, creating uneveness. Officials said the problem has occurred since the new school was opened in 2011.

Officials have said pyritic shale running 15 feet underneath that part of the building was exposed to air and water and started to react and expand.

Gibson said the district is waiting to hear if it received a $100,000 safety grant from the OSCFC to upgrade school camera systems.

Also the district is seeking a grant for an after-school program for industry-related careers and a K-12 career-based STEM program. Gibson said the high school would offer manufacturing and technology programs.

He said the high school media center, which is not used as much as the library at the elementary school, would have technology, pre-apprenticeship programming and STEM lab areas.

“The high school media center has some dead space that is not being utilized we can use,” he said.

Gibson said encyclopedias and science books that are more than 30 years old can be removed from the high school media center.

“Libraries and media centers are changing to meet the needs of students. We can seek grant money help us make changes,” Kurpe said.

Gibson said the elementary media center for grades kindergarten to fourth will keep books. Gibson said the district is seeking another grant from the Trumbull County Juvenile Court to be used for intervention for at-risk students.

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