School treasurer says upcoming levy ‘critical’

By David J. Coehrs -

A 3.87-mill substitute levy Wauseon schools will place on the Nov. 3 ballot “is critical, and we cannot live without it,” Treasurer David Fleming told the Board of Education on Monday.

Due to an almost 91% leap in inflation since the original levy passed in 1991, the buying power of the substitute levy has dropped to just under $420,000.

“We’re in a deficit spending situation with not much end in sight,” Fleming told the board during a presentation. He said the substitute levy would allow for additional revenue to be generated by new local construction projects if it passes.

The levy, which is not a new tax, would be a continuing levy that would save the school district from asking voters for a renewal every five years “for something that we just cannot afford to live without,” Fleming said. It would continue to generate its original amount of $835,000 per year with new revenue created by new local construction.

The school district has little choice, however. Fleming said failure of the proposed levy would call for an immediate plan for a reduction in force, place the district on the Ohio Department of Education’s fiscal watch list, and likely cause a freeze on raises.

Fleming said the school district will hold public meetings regarding the substitute levy. “This levy is critical to the continued successful operation of the district,” he said.

In other business, the school board approved the following donations to the district: Food items from Denise Bauman, $230.33 from Mallorie Hannon and children, food items from Pettisville Ever Ready 4H Club, food items from Wauseon FFA, food items from Spanish Honor Society, cereal from Kay Heising and Dave and Andrea Sauber, anonymous fund from inFaith Community Foundation, food items from the Wauseon High School football team, and $2,000 from North Clinton Church, all to the elementary school food pantry; anonymous donation of 21 cabinets, acoustic panels worth $6,000 from Dynamix, 14 bottles of hand sanitizer from Cost Cutters Hair Salon, and 108 reusable water bottles from Auto Zone, all to the school district; a $677 metal storage cabinet from the Tomahawk Wrestling Club to the Wauseon wrestling program; $340 from Project Hope to Spanish Club; backpack filled with supplies from Dollar General and face masks from Lori Weber to the primary school.

Board members also passed the following motions: to adopt the Fiscal Year 2021 permanent appropriations; approve modifications and supplemental modifications to the Fiscal Year 2021 Certificate of Estimated Resources; approve the building fund; and to approve a “now and then” certificate for $56,457.28 to purchase a NorthBuckeye Education Council/NWOCA membership.

In personnel matters, the board approved: the Rachel Wixey and Associates substitute teachers list as presented; a one-year limited classified contract to Rhonda Burton as a two-hour high school cook; one-year limited supplemental contracts to district mentors Tammy Ankney Shelly Borton, Melissa Diebert, Joy Hutchinson, April King Beck, Sarah Ripke, Lynn Nofziger, and Trent Thomas; varsity assistant girls basketball coach Shelly Borton; seventh grade girls basketball coach Brice Carroll; LPDCs – primary school/Michelle Eberle, middle school/Amber Fryzel, high school/Ami Richer, and elementary school/Jill Welch; eighth grade girls basketball coach Joe Henson; JV girls basketball coach Shawn Machacek; one-year limited outside supplemental contract to Olivia Behm as high school assistant speech advisor.

The board also approved the transfer of the following cooks – Shirley Bledsoe from 3-hour to 2-hour, Diana Bruner from 6.5-hour to 6-hour, Trini Fry from 5.5-hour to 4.5-hour, Kelly Kuntz from 7-hour to 6-hour, and Karen Rees from 3-hour to 2-hour; bus drivers Carl Hamilton, Patsy Hull, Susana McLeod, Jamie Winland, Amber Zuidema, and JoAnn Zuver; the resignations of Nikki Przepiora as elementary school and middle school cook and Catherine Held as high school cook; volunteer coaches Tony Banister, Jordan Smith, and Dave Wyper for high school wrestling, Kyle Borton as assistant for high school girls basketball, Mark Britsch and Ray Martinez for high school boys basketball, and Kevin Kreiner and Jordan Smith for high school wrestling; John Zuchowski as adult pool worker and Jodi Buehrer as adult volunteer pool worker; Maddux Chamberlin, Andrew Eberle, Ashley Freestone, Macy Gerig, Natalie Kuntz, Bailey McGuire Aidan Pena, Grace Rhoades, Andrew Scherer, And Emily Wasnick as student pool workers; and Payton Albright, Jettie Burget, Carson Burt, Marie Hutchinson, and Macee Schang as student athletic department workers.

Other approved motions include: the 2020-21 student handbooks and bus routes; authorizing the superintendent and treasurer to deny approval of use of accrued employer paid leave to supplement the two-thirds pay under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act where applicable; the first reading of Neola policy new items, revisions, and deletions; the early graduation of Jac Schroeder with the Class of 2021; authorization of the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center as the school board’s representative consistent with authority granted by the Ohio General Assembly.

A Wauseon Education Association Memorandum of Understanding was approved for an agreed Wauseon school district reduction in pay increase for the 2020-21 contract year from 1.9% to 0.9% due to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent loss of school district revenue. Base salary effective Sept. 1, 2019, was $37,176; Sept. 1, 2020, $37,511; Sept. 1, 2021, $38,640. The agreement won’t carry over to reduce compensation for collective bargaining unit members for the 2021-22 contract year.

A second WEA Memorandum of Understanding approved involuntarily transfers kindergarten teacher Nichole Aeschliman to the Wauseon Virtual Academy for the 2020-21 school year due to additional need for a virtual instructor.

Jill Shehorn, the school district’s transportation supervisor, ended the meeting with an informational presentation that included the following facts: the district has 16 buses, eight of which have been purchased since 2016 and the remainder over 10 years old; there are 13 bus routes; district bus mileage totals over one million miles; district buses use 27,500 gallons of diesel fuel annually; and, all buses passed their on their first inspections this year.

By David J. Coehrs

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.