Van Wert High School Dean of Students Ben Collins gave the Board of Education and update on school culture and meaningful relationships during Wednesday's meeting. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Van Wert High School Dean of Students Ben Collins gave the Board of Education and update on school culture and meaningful relationships during Wednesday's meeting. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – The Van Wert Board of Education heard the bi-annual update of the five-year forecast during Wednesday’s regular meeting. Treasurer Michelle Mawer gave the report.

“There is a lot of uncertainties and risks in forecasting, and basically the risk and uncertainties come about with the economic uncertainties that may go on,” said Mawer, who noted that unpredictable state funding also plays a role in what may happen financially with a school district.

The State bi-annual budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 froze funding at the 2019 level, so schools will not be seeing additional funding for at least the next two years. However, restricted funds for student wellness and success were allocated during the State’s bi-annual budget. Those funds can not be used for operating expenses. They can be used for items that improve the well-being of students physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually.

Mawer noted that over the next five years, revenues remain rather flat while expenditures continue to rise. Van Wert School District is expected to stay in the black until 2024, where they are forecasted to fall into a negative balance.

“We definitely need to come up with solutions of, first of all, to look at is there any way to cut expenses and so forth,” said Mawer.

Also, during the meeting, the Board heard a presentation from Dean of Students Ben Collins, who spoke about how the high school is improving meaningful relationships between adults and students and improving the culture in the building. In the spring, a survey was given out in the high school to see if students felt as if they had a trusted adult to talk to. The survey also asked about the culture in the building.

After receiving the results, staff worked to maintain and continue to create those meaningful relationships with students. The district also began programing that encouraged students to be kind, to believe in themselves, and to create positive change to better the culture at school.

The same survey was given after the first semester, and there was a 5-10 percent improvement in culture and meaningful relationships. Collins said the district will continue to work on improving those results further.

During a report regarding athletics, Board member Anthony Adams noted that the fundraising process for the renovation of Eggerss stadium and the creation of a baseball and softball facility would begin soon. Residents should look for a press release with more information on the project in the coming weeks.

In other business, the Board made the following motions:

- Approve Tiffany Werts as middle school basketball cheerleading coach for the 2019-2020 school year.

- Approve Selena Witten as high school volunteer assistant basketball cheerleading coach for the 2019-2020 school year.

- Approve new/revised policies from Neola Fall 2019 update.

- Approve the 2019-2020 Pool Use Agreement between Van Wert City Schools and the YMCA of Van Wert County.

- Approve an agreement between Van Wert City School and Therapy Solutions to provide physical therapy for designated individuals attending VWCS.

The Board also approved a lengthy list of donations. With no further business, the Board motioned to go into executive session and then adjourned.

The next Board of Education meeting is set for Dec. 18 at 5 p.m.