LIBERTY CENTER — Superintendent Richie Peters addressed an alleged threat to Liberty Center Schools this past Thursday during the regular meeting of the Liberty Center Local Board of Education on Monday. The board approved the five-year fiscal forecast, okayed a three-year contract agreement with its Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) workers, and handled several personnel matters.

In a statement that was sent to parents in the district Peters shared the following with the board: “This message is to provide clear, accurate information to the Liberty Center community regarding last Thursday evening’s incident. School officials and the Henry County Sheriff’s Department began the investigation process Thursday night immediately after receiving information of a possible threat to the school.

“The student in question was not permitted to attend school until the investigation was completed. The results of the investigation determined that there was no threat made toward the school. Additionally, there was never a threatening note as was indicated by a social media post.

“The student in question will not be attending school for the remainder of the school year. This decision is for this student’s well-being. There are no criminal charges or school consequences pending against this student.”

School resource officer (SRO) Ryan Zumfelde of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and high school principal Larry Black, were also part of the conversation.

In her five-year forecast, treasurer/CFO Jenell Buenger shared the district will see deficit spending throughout the life of the forecast, including fiscal year 2019 in which a loss of $633,437 is expected. The cash balance of the district is expected to stay in the black through fiscal year 2022, but a deficit is expected in 2023 (this number does not take into account proposed renewal/replacement and new levies, if applicable).

Peters explained that student enrollment has declined in the district by nearly 200 students over the course of the past 10 years, and that through attrition, the district looks to keep staffing at the proper number for the amount of students that attend the district.

The three-year agreement approved by the board and OAPSE Local 414 employees includes raises of 2.75% in each of the three years of the contract, which runs from July 1, 2019-June 30, 2022.

“It was apparent early on in the negotiating process that both sides of the table had built up a trust over time, which helped negotiations go smoothly,” said Peters. “I applaud the negotiating teams for their work, and I think everyone came up with a plan for all involved.”

The board learned also that a Veterans Memorial Wall that was to be constructed by Memorial Day, is way behind schedule due to all the rain this spring. The district hopes the project can be finished by July 4.

It was shared that Liberty Center High School graduation will be held Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the varsity gymnasium, and graduation from the Liberty Education Center (LEC) will take place May 30 at 10 a.m. at the LEC.

In other business, the board:

• okayed an agreement with Julian & Grube to examine the district’s Medicaid cost reports at a coast of $1,900 per year.

• voted for an agreement with Healthcare Process Consulting to assist in managing the district’s Ohio Medicaid School Program, in order to procure federal Medicaid reimbursement for Medicaid eligible services from July 1, 2019-June 30, 2022, at a cost of $5,500 per year.

• approved the lunchroom advance of $40,000, approved July 30, 2018, to now be approved as a permanent transfer of $40,000 to the lunchroom fund.

• offered a two-year contract to Kim Bergstedt as lunchroom aide for 3.5 hours per day, effective Sept. 4, 2019-Sept. 3, 2021; offered a one-year contract to Janice Freeman from July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020.

• okayed the transfer of Jeanette Dishop from Title I reading specialist to third-grade teacher/reading specialist; okayed Patricia Hyland, school psychologist, at the rate of $80 per hour for 2019-20.

• offered several certified individuals a one-year contract for 2019-20; and offered Casey Mohler, a classified individual, a one-year supplemental contract as head football coach and junior high basketball coach for 2019-20.

• accepted the resignation of Danielle Helberg, intervention specialist, and Dawn Mericle, teacher, at the end of 2018-19; and Bailey Tejkl, bus driver, effective May 8.

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