School board updated on state funding

By David J. Coehrs -

A presentation by the treasurer’s office for Wauseon schools offered hope that proposed state funding would help stabilize the school district’s bottom line.

During a Board of Education meeting held Monday by teleconference, Bethann Simon, assistant to district Treasurer David Fleming, laid out for board members the status of proposed Ohio House and Senate bills that would infuse needed revenue into the state’s 600-plus public school districts.

Known as the Fair School Funding Plan (FSFP), in the form of House Bill 305 and Senate Bill 376, the three-part strategy would establish shared funding between the state and local taxpayers. It would also determine actual costs of safety and mental health programs and educations for disadvantaged and gifted students and those with disabilities or the need to learn English.

FSFP would be the state’s first definitive school funding plan since a previous plan was ruled unconstitutional in 1997. Funded by local taxpayers through a 60/40 split between property values and income, FSFP reportedly offers equal funding among the state’s school districts.

According to Simon, the plan could mean a $2.1 million funding increase for Wauseon schools that would pump critical revenue into the district and ease its current and somewhat bleak five-year forecast. Sixty percent of the funding would go directly to classroom instruction.

“It will definitely help our five-year forecast bottom line, so we are really hoping it happens,” Simon said. “I’m happy Ohio…finally has a solution for this.”

House Bill 305 passed in December, but the state Senate stalled further FSFP progress through the end of 2020. Because of that, the process of introducing the legislation must now start over.

Monday’s board meeting began as an organizational meeting during which Sandra Griggs and Larry Fruth retained their positions as school board president and vice president, respectively. Other district appointments included Armstrong as purchasing agent, Stacie Radabaugh as legislative liaison, and Amy Fisher as student achievement liaison. Eight of 12 regularly-scheduled school board meetings for 2021 will be held the second Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at the Board of Education building. The other four will be held Fridays at 1 p.m. as follows: Feb. 5, middle school; April 9, elementary school; Sept. 10, high school; Nov. 12, primary school.

Following that discussion, board members were honored through the Ohio School Board Association for School Board Recognition Month.

“I think it’s important to take time to publicly recognize the five of you for the work that you do tirelessly every day…and do all the work in the background that people just don’t realize,” Armstrong said.

In other business, the board members accepted the following donations: whole frozen chickens from Liz Torres, fruits and vegetables from Rebecca Stuckey and Katie Miller, $2,000 from North Clinton Church, $50 from Monica Frankart, $1,900 from an anonymous staff member, and $100 from Larry and Sharon Fruth, all for the elementary school food pantry; $2,225 from the Wauseon Rotary Club for the Rotary One Grant; $642.38 from Lifetouch for the high school Student Council; $300 from Marshall Fitness for high school swim team training equipment.

The board also approved a “then and now” certificate for $11,985.05 to NBEC for managed internal broadband additions for IT; a motion for an alternative tax budget as requested by the Fulton County auditor, including the recently-approved five-year forecast and debt service schedule; a motion to adopt a resolution accepting amounts and rates as determined by the Budget Commission and authorizing necessary tax levies and certifying them to the Fulton County Auditor for calendar year 2021; a motion to approve modifications and supplemental modifications to the Fiscal Year 2021 Certificate of Estimated Resources; a motion to adopt the Fiscal Year 2021 permanent appropriations – elementary school food pantry, $5,000, Fiscal Year 2021 Wellness Grant, $3,460, and Fiscal Year ODE Bus Grant, $53,990.22; a motion to approve NEOLA bylaw policy revisions including Cost Principles – Spending Federal Funds and Procurement – Federal grants and funds; a motion allowing the superintendent and treasurer to enter into an agreement for owner representative services with INCompliance in regard to primary school roof replacement.

In personnel matters, a motion was approved for the following: the Rachel Wixey and Associates substitute list; the resignations of Lisa Rupp, bus driver, effective Jan. 7, 2021 – but now a substitute driver – and Jasmine Ginoza, primary school playground aide, effective Dec. 2; one-year limited certificated supplemental contracts for 2020-21 to Joe Allen, head boys track, Kyle Borton, assistant track, Mike Colon, head girls track, Christian Crew, junior high track, Trent Thomas, head baseball, Mike Webster, junior high track, and Todd Wyse, assistant baseball; one-year limited outside supplemental contracts for 2020-21 to Nick Lavinder, assistant softball, Steve Marks, assistant baseball, Mark Schang, head softball, Tom Vernot, assistant track, and Derek Zimmerman, head boys tennis; volunteers for 2020-21: Ron Burget, softball, JD Douglass, baseball, Dylan Leu, baseball, Roy Norman, softball, and Brand Schantz, baseball; and up to four COVID-19 coordinators, to be paid using funds received from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Fund.

Eric Sauber, district operations supervisor, gave a presentation of the department’s duties.

And Armstrong reported that the school district has used a temporary period of virtual instruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to deep-clean its buildings.

By David J. Coehrs

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

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