The Wauseon Board of Education on Monday joined other Ohio school districts and educational associations in formally opposing Ohio’s Educational Choice Scholarship Program.
The Ohio Department of Education voucher program allows students attending public schools that were issued D and/or F grades on past state report cards to transfer to private or charter schools using their school district’s state-issued financial aid. Wauseon Elementary School has been designated for the Educational Choice Scholarship Program – or EdChoice – based on a poor grade the school received in the state report card’s third grade reading achievement category.
Prior to the board passing a resolution against the voucher program, Superintendent Troy Armstrong said the state’s grading methods are “not a true reflection of what we do every day here in Wauseon schools.” He added that private and charter schools have no requirement to meet state standards or endure state testing.
In some cases, there are Ohio school districts that might loses millions of dollars through EdChoice, Armstrong said. He said he, board member Rick Stidham, and district treasurer David Fleming attended a conference in Columbus “in a room full of public educators who are distraught with this.”
The superintendent said the school board voiced its concerns about EdChoice in a meeting with 2nd District Senator Theresa Gavarone. He also noted that the Ohio School Boards Association, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, the Ohio Association of Elementary School Principals, and the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators have stated their opposition to the voucher program.
During a brief organizational meeting held prior to the regularly scheduled meeting, the school board appointed Sandra Griggs to retain her position as president and Stacia Radabaugh to replace Larry Fruth as vice president. The board also appointed Armstrong as the school district’s purchasing agent, Stidham as the legislative liaison, and board member Amy Fisher as the student liaison. The board agreed to continue a meeting schedule of the second Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at 930 E. Oak St., but changed the traditional second monthly meeting to 1 p.m. on four Fridays over the school year, in a rotation of the school buildings.
Donations to the district included: $337 to the elementary school pantry from Congregational United Church of Christ; $1,000 to the high school Student Council from Delta Airlines-Matching Gifts to Education; $1,453.97 from Tomahawk Wrestling Club to the school district for wrestling trip hotel rooms; $100 and $5,000 to the high school Chorale and the school district, respectively, from the Wauseon Rotary Club for performance and to support Ron Clark Academy initiatives; hats and gloves to the primary school from Zion United Methodist Church.
In personnel issues, the board approved: Susana McLeod as a bus driver trainee; the transfer of Michelle Cantu from high school teacher aide to high school secretarial assistant, effective Jan. 27; the resignations of Erin Cheesbro as elementary school playground aide, retroactive to Dec. 10, and Ann Berry as primary school playground aide, retroactive to Jan. 10; the placement of Auneta Herr on State Employees Retirement System disability, effective Jan. 27; one-year limited classified contracts to Gwen Murry as a bus aide and Andrea Valdez as a high school teacher aide pending a background check; a one-year limited certificated supplemental contract to Michael Webster as a junior high school track coach; Amy Miller as a primary and elementary school Title I substitute for the 2019-20 year, for a total of 50 days at a per diem rate of $127; Melinda Robinson as an ELL volunteer; Payton Albright, Jettie Burget, J.T. Hutchinson, Grace Leininger, Kennedy Nation, Hunter Nofziger, and Macee Schang as athletic department workers; 11 years of administrative experience with regards to vacation leave accruals for Keith Leatherman, retroactive to Aug. 1, 2019.
Board members passed motions to: approve an alternative tax budget requested by Fulton County Auditor Brett Kolb, including the most recent five-year forecast and debt service schedule; adopt a resolution accepting amounts and rates determined by the Budget Commission, and authorizing necessary tax levies and certifying them to the county auditor for 2020; approve modifications and supplemental modifications to the fiscal year 2020 permanent appropriations; approve requests by high school seniors Brynn Wiebeck and Nicole Conine for early completion, and for Wiebeck to be included in the 2020 commencement ceremony; approve the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school calendars; and approve an increase in adult lunch and extra entree prices.
The board entered into an executive session regarding personnel. No action was taken.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.