Van Wert City Schools Assistant Superintendent Bill Clifton addresses the Board during the October meeting on Wednesday. (DHI Media/Sherry Missler)
Van Wert City Schools Assistant Superintendent Bill Clifton addresses the Board during the October meeting on Wednesday. (DHI Media/Sherry Missler)

By Sherry Missler

Times Bulletin Staff Writer

VAN WERT — The Van Wert City Schools Board of Education heard two presentations during its October meeting on Wednesday.

Ruth Ann Dowler, Special Education Coordinator, spoke to the Board on issues dealing with students with low incidence disabilities or those with disabilities less commonly experienced. These include visually and hearing impaired, children with verbal skills, those with autism or even mental health issues. Dowler gave examples of the problems these students have on a daily basis and how the staff works to meet their needs. She told the Board, "We are seeing more students who have a variety of disabilities coming through our doors." She added, "Our staff are working very hard to meet all the needs of these students ... I am concerned as we move forward that we continue to look at programming."

Jane Schmid, Workforce Development Manager for the Van Wert Area Economic Development, spoke on the recent Build Your Future. She told the Board 217 ninth and 10th graders participated in this event held at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. Vantage students were the actual demonstrators. She said, "This was a day highlighting skill trades and we highlighted five different trades — HVAC, carpentry, construction, electrical, and welding." She added, "It was a terrific three-hour experience." She told the Board she hoped to expand the program to more students, more schools, more trades, and more contractors. She noted there was grant money available for such projects.

Assistant Superintendent Bill Clifton spoke on applying for safety grants from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. These grants are up to $100,000 for each of the district's components — the ECC, elementary, middle school, and high school. He noted that initially they were focusing on cameras for the elementary and ECC. Now Clifton said, they would look at seeking funds for cameras for the ECC, the elementary school, and exterior cameras for the high school and middle school. He informed the Board that the newly purchased bus, No. 11, still needs to be inspected by the Highway Patrol and registered. He updated the Board on the transportation report submitted, spoke on the district's need to remove items being stored at a rental facility on Sibley Street that had been sold as well as the district's cardiac emergency response plan.

Superintendent Mark Bagley spent time focusing attention on House Bill 290, the so-called backpack bill, that would establish a school funding formula; Senate Bill 1; and the Ohio grade cards.

In other action, the Board:

* Had the first reading of the new/revised policies from Neola

* Accepted the resignation, due to retirement, of Mary Ann McIntosh as a general cafeteria worker, effective Oct. 15

* Accepted the resignation, due to retirement, of Joyce Mills as an elementary school paraprofessional, effective Dec. 31

* Approved Mason Krugh as a custodial/maintenance worker effective Nov. 1

* Approved Beth Adkins as a general cafeteria worker effective Nov. 2

* Approved supplemental contracts effective the 2021-2022 contract year to Noah Carter - High School Robotics Club Advisor, Beth Saunier - School Musical Assistant Director, Brooke Boznango - Middle School Building Leadership Team, Megan Hurless - District Leadership Team (Middle School), Harry Florence - High School Site Coordinator, Charlie Witten - Middle School Athletic Coordinator, Nick Pauff, Austin McIntosh, Colten Royer, and Terrin Contreras - Assistant Wrestling Coaches (.5), Brad Allmandinger and Chris Heath - Middle School Wrestling coaches, Ben Collins - Volunteer Wrestling Coach, Greg Steinecker - Head Softball Coach, Alex Schmidt - Head Boys Tennis Coach, Charlie Witten - Head Baseball Coach, Mark Collins - Head Boys Track & Field Coach, and Nate Hoverman - Head Girls Track & Field Coach.

* Approved Shelly Place as a focused mentor for the 2021-2022 contract year. Focused mentors will be paid the tutor rate of $21 per hour.

* Approved the expansion of the Airport Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) to include land in Vision Park off of Production Drive and Vision Drive.

* Accepted a number of donations to the Van Wert City Schools from the United Way for $579 to Middle School Cougar Leaders, Wallace Plumbing for $600 to wrestling, Van Wert Health for $1,500.00 to elementary wellness, Janet’s Donation Fund for $2,000 to Van Wert School at the Goedde, Laudick’s Jewelry for $200 to the Renaissance Fund, Gary and Jane Houg for $500 to girls basketball, Dalton Heppeard for $866.50 to the CEO Program, VFW Post 5803 Van Wert for $100 to girls tennis, Ron Riggenbach for $50 to the athletic department, Central Mutual Insurance Co. for $2,100 to the National Honor Society, Touches of Time for $50 to football cheerleading, and Straley Realty for $250 to football cheerleading.

* Approved the Declaration of Official Intent to reimburse any capital expenditure paid prior to the issuance of the obligations intended to fund the future Eggerss Stadium renovation project.

At the end of the meeting, the Board went into executive session to discuss the employment of public personnel. There was no action taken.

The next regularly scheduled meeting is set for 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17 in the First Federal Lecture Hall at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.