HAMLER — The new COVID guidelines at Patrick Henry schools have been well received reported Superintendent Dr. Josh Biederstedt at Monday night’s regular school board meeting.

According to Biederstedt, the district has adopted a modified COVID quarantine for about a month with positive results. The guidelines were developed by the Henry County Health Department and used in schools.

“Families are still letting us know,” said Biederstedt, “they appreciate the ability to have a choice to have their students stay in school, with a mask, when they are identified as a close contact.”

According to the superintendent, to this point, the new guidelines have saved over 170 days of instruction for students that have identified as a close contact at school.

Biederstedt did add one caveat to his COVID report. He encouraged all students to stay home if they experience symptoms and return to school after remaining symptom free for 24 hours. “PH is still experiencing positive cases for students along with close contacts identified both in school and because of out of school close contact,” added Biederstedt.

The Treasurer/CFO Breanna DeWit presented an updated five-year forecast to the school board, showing deficit spending for fiscal years 2024-26. DeWit does forecast, however, a positive balance at the end of the forecast.

Property tax revenues are expected to remain flat during the length of the forecast and income tax receipts expected to increase, based on returns from the last two fiscal years. Income tax revenue should increase by 0.5% over fiscal years 2023-26.

Based on the 2017 adjustments in the CAUV formula, the district saw a reduction of nearly 19% in agricultural values and an increase of 9.23% in residential values. According to DeWit, in 2020 the district saw a decrease of 33.58% in the CAUV values while the increase in residential value was as much as 13.33%.

DeWit said that HB 49 implemented adjustments that regulated down the CAUV values in Ohio and income tax values were adjusted up based on recent collections.

Also built into the forecast were expenditures for personal and purchased services. Salary increases that are consistent with area increases were used to determine personnel costs over the forecast period. With the addition of specific special education units through the NwOESC, DeWit forecast an increase in purchased services.

In other news, the board also:

• accepted retirement resignations from: Rick Fricke, 37 years at PH and 40 years in education totally; Becky Wasson, 24 years at PH and 35 total years in education; Karen Phillips, 24 years at PH and 35 years total in education; Bethany Gable, 16 years at PH and 35 years total in education; Pam Knueven, 24 years at PH and 25 years total in education. A total of 160 years experience retiring and 110 years at Patrick Henry.

• held a strategic planning meeting to discuss multiple capital improvement projects.

• set Dec. 20 and Jan. 10 for next two meeting dates. The January meeting will start at 6:15 p.m. with a required records meeting and immediately follow with an organizational meeting before the regular monthly meeting.

• heard of the upcoming John Watson Lecture Series on Monday, featuring Dr. Julie Oestreich from the University of Findlay.

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