Outgoing treasurer Michelle Mawer presented the board with her final five-year forecast. In turn, they presented her with a token of their appreciation for her years of service to the school district. (Sam Shriver/DHI Media)
Outgoing treasurer Michelle Mawer presented the board with her final five-year forecast. In turn, they presented her with a token of their appreciation for her years of service to the school district. (Sam Shriver/DHI Media)
By Sam Shriver

Times Bulletin reporter

VAN WERT — The Van Wert Board of Education approved the district’s latest five-year financial plan for the district, Wednesday night.

The five-year forecast is a report required by the Ohio Department of Education to be updated every six months to give them an idea of what districts are headed toward potential financial trouble.

Outgoing treasurer Michelle Mawer reported that revenues will outpace expenditures up until around the fiscal year 2025 when the district will start to see expenditures grow.

That trend continues through the fiscal year 2027.

“Things change constantly so you always have to keep that in mind that it’s kind of a moving picture of changes,” Mawer said.

The differences between revenues and expenditures for FY 2023 favor expenditures by $591,023. For 2024 revenues outpace expenditures by $209,198. For 2025 the district is expected to spend $406,751 more than it takes in. The downward trend continues in 2026 with the district spending $984,589 more than they bring in. In 2027, the final year of the five-year report, the district will need $1,526,231 to keep up with what it spends.

The board also heard a presentation by Ruth Ann Dowler, special services coordinator for the school district.

Dowler says they still need to focus on the mental health of the students. “What we’ve seen throughout the district is the mental health of students and staff still seems to be a big need and a big focus in the things that we do. We still see many students who have trouble, not being able to control anger and these kinds of things,” Dowler said.

Superintendent Mark Bagley, in his report to the board, voiced concerns about a recent proposal to change the duties of the Ohio Department of Education.

“There’s a new (Ohio) senate bill proposal, 178, to dismantle ODE. It would basically be put into two parts…Department of Education, K through 12, and Career Tech Education Vocational. All ODE would do is licensure and discipline for staff.

It hasn’t been approved but I would expect that to get fast-tracked. The concern there would be that those are all appointed positions, which means politics are even more important,” Bagley said.

In other business, the board:

•Accepted the retirement of Susan Semer, middle school language arts teacher effective at the end of the school year.

•Accepted the resignation of Melissa Bloomfield from her full supplemental as musical director-music director and on a related note approved Bloomfield as a half-time musical director-music director and approved Jennifer Slusher as a half-time musical director-music director.

•Approve Michelle Mawer as interim treasurer, effective November 17. At the last board of education meeting, the board approved her resignation as she has accepted the treasurer’s job at Celina City Schools.

•Approved a series of new or revised policies that touched on anything from weapons to care of students with diabetes.

•Approve an overnight trip for the boys cross country athletes and coaches to the OHSAA cross country state tournament (retroactive to Nov. 4-5).

•Accepted several donations including $2,500 from the Gene Haas Foundation and $1,000 from Ohio Northern University to the High School Robotics program; $500 from Wallace Plumbing & Underground and $200 from Stacey Baer to the VW Wrestling program; $250 from Laing Family Dentistry to Masque & Gavel; and $50 from Max & Linda Gamble to Goedde School’s Principal Fund.

The next scheduled meeting for the Van Wert Board of Education is set for 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 21 at the First Federal Lecture Hall at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.