Wauseon schools to ask voters for substitute levy

By David J. Coehrs - [email protected]

Wauseon schools will ask voters in November to replace an expiring emergency levy with a continuing substitute levy the district’s administrators hope won’t require much new money.

The Board of Education approved a resolution for the substitute levy during a meeting held by teleconference Monday. The levy would take the place of the 4.35-mill, $835,000 per year emergency levy originally passed in 1991, then again in 2016 for five years. That levy will expire at the end of next year.

If enacted, the proposed substitute levy would also collect millage on new construction in the school district. The emergency levy has collected based only on properties current when it was voted in.

The school district’s superintendent, Troy Armstrong, said an income tax levy was originally considered to replace the emergency levy but “due to COVID-19 we don’t feel that’s an appropriate step, due to the economy.”

He said the school district will try to keep the substitute levy’s millage as close to the emergency levy’s millage as is feasible. “We want it to be as much of a ‘no new tax’ as possible,” he said.

The school district had planned to hold public meetings to gather input about the proposed levy but the the state’s coronavirus restrictions prevented them, Armstrong said. He said full details of a substitute levy will be provided in August and community input, in addition to that already provided by some focus groups, will be welcome.

“I feel good about the passage,” the superintendent said. “Our community has traditionally been very supportive of our levies, and we had planned multiple community meetings about our financial state of the district and why we need to substitute the levy or replace it with an income tax levy. We’re looking for input.”

The school board meeting on Monday began with approval of a number of donations, which Treasurer Dave Fleming called “quite remarkable”: for the elementary school food pantry – food items from Gordy Mull of the Wauseon Rotary Club, $69.70 from Olivia and Carter Beck, ground beef from Phil and Lisa Aeschliman, food items from Keith O’Brien, $120 from Harlen and Luann Goertzen, food items from True North Church, $100 from Larry and Sharon Fruth, $30 from Susan Wines, food items from Dave and Andrea Sauber, food items from Denise Bauman, potatoes from Mrs. Dennis Potato Farm, $1,000 from Brant and Robin Darnell, tomatoes and peppers from NatureFresh Farms, food items from Randy and Gwen Wills, food items from Harlie and Addison Hensley, $150 from Deborah Johnston, $50 from Justine Johnston, $200 from Bill and Tina Blanchong, $500 from First Christian Church Mission Group, $500 from First Christian Church Christian Women’s Fellowship, and four boxes of bagged meals with recipe cards from Ellen Mann at Project 216; $500, $545, $915, $1,200, $2,000, and $4,500, respectively, from Wauseon Athletic Boosters for NWOAL championship plaques, track meet software and computer, high jump pit cover, bowling shirts, tournament travel expenses, and a batting cage; $150 from Wauseon Eye Care, $25 from Billy and Rebecca Meyer, $50 from Don’s Automotive Group, and $100 from Earl Mechanical Services, $100 Fulton Lumber and Coal, $100 from Archbold Refuse Service, $50 from Wauseon Chamber of Commerce, and $125 from Cordy Insurance Agency, all for high school senior yard signs; $500 from Janet Cochran for student lunches; $30 from Jena Hernandez as part of Wauseon Chamber of Commerce T-shirt sale to Wauseon schools; and $100 from Tomahawk Trot to Wauseon Athletic Department for practice relay batons.

Board members also passed motions to approve: creation of a 21st Century After Support fund; modifications and supplemental modifications to the Fiscal Year 2020 permanent appropriations and certificate of estimated resources; establishment of a $150 change fund for the high school for Fiscal Year 2021; the Fiscal Year 2020 through Fiscal Year 2024 five-year forecast; Fiscal Year 21 student activity budgets; and the first reading of a revision of the inter-district open enrollment NEOLA bylaw policy.

In other business, the board approved the purchase of property, fleet, liability, and excess liability insurance totaling $67, 573 from Hylant Services of Toledo.

The following personnel items were also approved: Rachel Wixey and Associates substitute list; non-renewal of contract for Pamela Waugh, transportation supervisor, when her contract expires July 31; three-year administrative contract to Jennifer Grime, effective Aug. 1; classified continuing bus driver contracts to Sabrina Hartson, Jenna Henricks, Michelle Myers, Dennis Peabody, Rebecca Peabody, Karen Rees, Jill Shehorn, Beverly Tanner, and Sara Tanner; a two-year limited classified contract to bus driver Heidi Klingensmith, retroactive to April 15, 2019; two-year limited classified contracts to bus drivers Pamela Miller and Christopher Yackee; one-year limited certificated contract to Hannah Miedema, speech language pathologist, pending background check; retirement of Tracy Beck, effective June 1; transfers of Catie Lemley from seventh grade math teacher to eighth grade math teacher; transfer of of Mackenzie Robison from high school sweeper to high school head custodian; resignation of Lori Grime as elementary school teacher aide, effective 2019-20 school year; resignation of Stephanie Duvall as elementary school teacher aide, effective 2019-20 school year; addition of special education assistant to Column 3 of classified salary schedule; title change from Title VI-B secretary to special education secretary in Column 2 of classified salary schedule.

One-year limited supplemental contracts for extended time to the following certificated staff: Katie Black, agriculture; Samantha Burkholder, primary school guidance; Jessica Gerig, elementary school guidance; Laura Leininger, work/family life; Kaitlin Szozda, middle school guidance; Chris Thomas, agriculture; Laura Vorwerk and Terri Westfall, high school guidance.

One-year limited supplemental contracts were approved for: Kyle Borton, seventh grade football coach and junior varsity boys basketball coach; Tom Burkholder, diving coach; James Douglass, seventh grade basketball coach; Troy Gype, ninth grade boys basketball coach; Noah Parsons, eighth grade football coach; Brittany Schroeder, assistant varsity swimming coach; David Storrer, varsity assistant boys basketball coach; Joe Torres, varsity assistant wrestling coach; Nick Tule, assistant varsity wrestling coach; Michael Webster, eighth grade boys basketball coach; Roger Wilson, seventh grade football coach; Todd Wyse, eighth grade football coach; Saul Triana, volunteer assistant football coach.

And a list of Wauseon High School seniors was approved for graduation on May 24, pending completion of all state and local requirements.

Jennifer Grime, the district’s special education director, offered an administrative report.

The board entered into executive session to discuss employment. No action was taken

By David J. Coehrs

[email protected]