Van Wert Board of Education member Greg Blackmore listens to a report during Wednesday’s meeting. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent
Despite losing one day to heavy fog and three delays caused by early morning fog, Van Wert City Schools Superintendent Mark Bagley said the start of the new school year has been excellent.
His remarks came during Wednesday’s monthly Board of Education meeting and he noted the district is up nearly 75 students compared to last year, due to a variety of reasons.
Bagley also talked briefly about COVID-19 and said he believes the virus is here to stay.
“Every day we have discussions, whether it’s with the health department, our principals, with our teachers, about all the different protocols that we’re still trying to put in place,” Bagley explained. “We have to be smart about things.”
He also said that all classrooms at the Van Wert School at the Goedde, formerly Synergy Learning Center, now have air conditioning, except for the lunchroom.
“If there’s not air conditioning in a classroom, learning can’t happen,” Bagley said. “I don’t care if it’s the first day of school or the 178th day of school, you’re not going to learn when it’s 100 degrees. We’ve had that in our district, but we don’t have that now.”
Bagley also said the district has 35 new staff members and added the district is still looking for substitutes in several areas, including bus drivers, paraprofessionals, and teachers.
Assistant Superintendent Bill Clifton told board members that, for the most part, busing is going well so far.
“We’ve had a couple of glitches here and there and we’ve already contacted Mr. (Justin) Bragg,” Clifton said. “The cameras have been put to good use already and he’s pulling footage because kids are testing us right out of the gate, which is pretty typical.”
“We’ve had a couple of parents who have special requests that we’ve had to deny because we don’t have enough space on our special education bus,” Clifton added. “We will transport the special education child, but we’re not able to transport a sibling who is not a special needs child. Once they hear the different options that tends to clear things up.”
Clifton added that the district’s new bus is built and is scheduled to arrive in mid-September, but went on to say the company that put it together is having trouble finding drivers to transport buses.
During her report to the board, Treasurer Michelle Mawer said revenues are above expenditures and said the district is preparing to refinance existing bonds.
Athletic Council representative Dr. Rachel White told the board that the Western Buckeye League has raised ticket prices for athletic events $1 across the board. Tickets are now $8 for varsity football, basketball, and certain other sports, while middle school athletic tickets went from $4 to $5. She encouraged those who attend athletic events on a regular basis to consider buying passes to save money.
The board approved nearly a dozen supplemental contracts, including Tom Baer and Josie Luthman, middle school site coordinators; Steve Sealscott, sixth grade data manager; Brooke Boznango, sixth grade RTI; Chris Gemmer and Alexa Terry, seventh grade RTI data managers; Katie Peterson, seventh grade RTI; Angie Myers and Kelli Thompson, eighth grade data manager, and Marie Markward, eighth grade RTI.
The board also approved a $500 stipend for Year No. 1 teacher mentors Traci McCoy, Ashley Sinn, Tom Baer, Nicole Adams, Shelly Place, Deb Chiles, Nate Hoverman, Katie Bowersock, and Charlie Witten.
In other business, board members gave approval to:
- An interagency agreement between Van Wert County public schools, Van Wert County Board of DD and CORS/Head Start for the 2021-2022 school year.
- Career Education Opportunity (CEO program) agreements with Crestview and Lincolnview.
- A contract with the Lincolnview Local School District for Lincolnview students attending the Van Wert School at the Goedde.
- An itinerant teaching services contract with Crestview Local Schools for itinerant teaching services as needed for Crestview students.
- An agreement with the Wood County Juvenile Detention Center-Juvenile Residental Center of Northwest Ohio for the 2021-2022 school year.
- An agreement with Interpreters of the Deaf LLC to provide sign language interpreting servides during the current school year.
- A contract with Phelan Insurance Agency for $77,963 for property, general liability, crime, equipment, automobile and umbrella coverage for the 2021-2022 school year.
The board graciously accepted donations of $2,000 from the Cooper Family Foundation to Van Wert Middle School and Van Wert High School, and $925 from J.P. Morgan to the Van Wert Middle School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program.
The board was informed that a public meeting will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, September 14, to hear comments on the district’s use of IDEA Part B funds, with recommendations or suggestions for special education programs and services. Special Services Coordinator Ruth Ann Dowler and Early Childhood Center Principal Lori Bittner will be available for the meeting in the office conference room at Van Wert Elementary School, or by appointment at a later time.
The next meeting of the Van Wert City Schools Board of Education is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday, September 22, in the First Federal Lecture Hall of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.
Original article courtesy of The VW Independent