Five Vantage Board of Education members took the oath of office at January’s organizational meeting on Thursday. Pictured above are (from the left): Greg von der Embse of Kalida, Pat Baumle of Wayne Trace, Kim Brandt of Parkway, and Dennis Recker of Antwerp being sworn in at the meeting. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
VAN WERT - Vantage Career Center's Board of Education was the first school board in the area to reorganize for 2013. The board met Thursday night to hear the latest budget information and to approve a five-year contract extension for Superintendent Staci Kaufman that will run through July of 2019.Kaufman's extension met with only one note of disapproval. Greg Reinhart of Paulding Exempted Village Schools questioned the necessity of making a contract which does not take effect until August of 2014. Reinhart noted that he did not have any issue with Kaufman or the contract in general, just the timing of entering into the agreement. The motion to approve the contract passed 9-1.
Vantage students have now moved into all the new areas of the new building, Kaufman reported. A few items are still being finished, but the construction has gone very well.
"With the difficulty of the project that we had, we had over 570 safe work days which [the contractors] think is a phenomenal record. No injuries on site. They feel pretty lucky the project is over now, given the huge numbers at certain points of the project that were on site at one time.," Kaufman pointed out.
Legal work on the agreement to install a solar energy bed for the school is ongoing. At one point the future of using solar energy at Vantage was in jeopardy due to disagreements concerning details. Kaufman noted that many of those issues are being resolved, and she told board members that she hoped to have an agreement in place ready for board approval at either the February or March board meeting.
Kaufman also informed the board that in an informal ranking of joint vocational schools in Ohio, Vantage was ranked 15th of 49.
She revealed she received that information just before Christmas.
Work is continuing between Vantage and Northwest State to partner together to make students eligible to receive Stafford loans to take college classes at the Vantage campus. Those details are continuing to be finalized.
Before the regular meeting began, the annual Tax Budget Hearing was held. Treasurer Lori Davis went through the district budget line by line, including showing balances in accounts related to the renovation and expansion project.
Board members chose Lonnie Nedderman to another term as board president with Sally Snyder picked as vice president. Reinhart was chosen as the legislative liaison and Kim Brandt was named student achievement liaison. The board set its regular meetings for the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. The April 4 meeting will begin at 5:15 p.m. because of the All Boards Dinner that evening, and the Dec. 5 meeting will be held at 6 p.m.
Board members also approved supplemental contracts for MaryJo Wilhelm, Annette Klinger, Jerry Robinson, Larry Ray, Kevin Van Oss, Larry Regedanz, Nancy Keith, Brent Wright, and Stacie Leiter for Step Into Your Future. The adult education instructors list had five names added: Tracey Borns, Josephine Wilson, Jeffrey Stittsworth, Beverly Melton, and James Haggerty.
The board also accepted donations from Lafarge Cement, Tractor Supply Company, and a grant from the Rothacker-Lampe bequest from the Van Wert County Foundation. The community reinvestment area agreement with JJK Kahle of Kalida was approved, along with a memorandum of understanding with the Vantage Teachers Organization concerning the seniority list and another for the implementation of an online kiosk for employee sign in. April 12, 2013 was approved as a waiver day for staff for professional development.