Glenn Morefield (left) receives a Veteran’s Diploma from Board President Scott Mull. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent
The Van Wert City Board of Education tackled a packed agenda during Wednesday’s monthly meeting, and one of the first items of business was to present a Veteran’s Diploma to Glenn Morefield, a local veteran was born in Virginia in 1942, but moved to Van Wert County in 1953.
He began high school in Van Wert in 1958, but entered the service in 1959 and, among other things, served as an Air Defense fire control crewman. He promised his father he’d graduate and receive his diploma and, while in the service, Morefield completed his GED.
Morefield, who was accompanied by friends and family, thanked the board and was honored at a small reception following the meeting.
In other business, Assistant Superintendent Bill Clifton updated board members on new and revised bus procedures that will take effect with the 2019-2020 school year. He stressed the changes are meant to promote consistency and safety.
“It’s basically going to a one bus stop location procedure,” Clifton said. “Beginning next fall, parents will designate one location as their child’s primary bus stop.”
Clifton added an emergency bus stop is built into the procedure, but only for true emergencies.
“An emergency can’t be once a week or often,” Clifton noted. “I’m guessing per family it should only happen a handful of times at the most. Any time there’s an emergency transportation issue, it has to be pre-approved by the building principal.”
The full policy will be posted on the school system’s website at https://www.vwcs.net/Administration2/transportation and will be shared via social media and sent home with students.
Clifton also gave an update on Phase II of renovations to Eggerss Stadium, noting that new locker room and restroom facilities have been designed underneath the historic stadium, along with a substantially larger free-standing press box behind the facility. Plans also call for a free-standing building for concessions and bleachers at the south end to accommodate marching bands.
He added officials will work with the Benson Group to begin fundraising efforts to support the project, and he noted Phase III of the project could include artificial turf and additional parking.
Clifton also said discussions continue about building baseball and softball facilities at the high school.
School funding was a topic of discussion, with Treasurer Mike Ruen explaining that some funds coming from the state have flatlined or stayed the same for at least two years.
He also talked about school funding within the state’s new biennial budget, which must signed into law by June 30. Different versions are in the House and Senate, with no increase in base core funding in the House version but increases in other areas, and he said the Senate could bring back the Cupp-Patterson proposal for consideration.
“There are a lot of question marks right now,” Ruen explained. “There are different forecasts out there that they’re not sharing because it’s not final and they don’t know where it’s going to go.”
Superintendent Vicki Brunn urged residents to write letters State Representative Craig Riedel and State Senator Rob McColley, adding that the district will put a letter template on the district’s website.
“We all need to be sending the same message, that it’s not okay that education is not funded at a greater level,” Brunn said. “We need to be active and we need to take a stand because, if not, we are going to have to make some tough decisions and go back to our community.”
“It’s been years since we’ve asked for additional money for funding, but we’re going to get to the point where we’re going to have to ask the public to support us so we can keep giving a quality education to our students.”
During her report to the board, Brunn said much of the work related to the district’s energy savings project, which was approved last month, will be done over the summer months, with some of the work being performed on second shift.
With board members Anthony Adams and Rachel Dickman absent, Mull, Tom Losh, and Debby Compton approved a number of hirings, including Ben Laudick as varsity boys’ basketball coach and Hannah Phlipot as varsity girls’ basketball coach (see Sports page), along with Henry Florence as junior varsity girls coach, Eli Alverez as girls’ tennis coach, Vicki Smith as VWMS volleyball coach, Atta John Ochil as assistant boys’ soccer coach, and Samantha Fleming as fall cheerleading coach.
Three-year contracts were approved for Director of Curriculum Chris Covey, Special Education Coordinator Ruth Ann Dowler, VWMS Assistant Principal Darla Dunlap, and School Psychologist Doug Grooms. One-year contracts were approved for Assistant Superintendent Bill Clifton and Administrative Assistant to the High School Principal Dave Froelich.
Kelly Foster was hired as a sixth grade science teacher, Amie Moonshower was hired as an eighth grade intervention teacher, and the board accepted the resignations of high school guidance counselor Stephanie Hanneman and fifth grade teacher Thomas Sanford, effective the end of the school year.
Board members heard a brief presentation from Moonshower, Dunlap, Sarah White, and VWMS Principal Mark Bagley on middle school career connections.
A special work session will be held for strategic planning from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 25, in the S.F. Goedde Building Conference Room, and board members agreed to schedule regular board meetings for Wednesday, June 26, and Wednesday, July 24. Both meetings will begin at 5 p.m. in the First Federal Lecture Hall of the Niswonger Peforming Arts Center of Northwest Ohio.
SCOTT TRUXELL/independent writer