The Defiance City Board of Education held its organizational meeting Wednesday evening, followed by its regular meeting. During the regular meeting, the board approved a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) agreement and a CRA update, and discussed state capital grant money awarded to the district.

In addition, the board heard discussion about an amended lease agreement with the city of Defiance, was given a presentation about Esports, heard an update about quarantine guidelines for Ohio schools and approved a MOU with its unions concerning Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) leave (see related story, page A1).

During the organizational meeting, Wes Moats was elected to serve as president, while Michael Wahl was chosen as vice president for 2021.

Other business, included:

• choosing CFO/treasurer Cheryl Swisher as public records designee.

• approving board meeting dates for the year — 5 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month (except November), and 5 p.m. the fourth Monday of the month (except March, July and December).

• establishing The Crescent-News as the district’s publication media of all regular and special meetings.

• approving Wahl as Ohio School Boards Association legislative liaison and educational liaison.

• setting the board service fund at $2,000 for 2021.

• establishing a records commission consisting of the board president, superintendent and treasurer.

• approving Bob Morton and Sheri Steyer to serve as the district’s civil rights coordinators and sexual harassment officers for 2021.

• authorizing the superintendent and treasurer to accept all donations on behalf of the board.

• authorizing the duties and responsibilities of the superintendent and CFO/treasurer.

During the regular meeting, the board received a call from new Defiance County Community Improvement Corporation director Erika Willitzer, concerning a CRA agreement. Local businessman Brad Schlachter applied for a tax exemption of 100% for 15 years on CRA #3, located on Agnes Street in Defiance, where he plans to invest more than $350,000 for three new storage units, one each year beginning as soon as possible.

In December, the board gave Schlachter final offer of a 90% tax exemption for 10 years, which was approved Wednesday evening. In December, former CIC director Jerry Hayes shared Maumee Valley Planning Organization was seeking an expansion of CRAs #3 and #4, which would encompass the 1918 building and campus. The board approved the expansion of the CRAs, Wednesday.

In his report, superintendent Bob Morton shared the good news that the district will receive a capital budget grant of $150,000 from the state for use in renovations of the Defiance Community Auditorium. Morton explained the money will be used for resurfacing the main floor of the auditorium; doing a seat reconfiguration; sidewalk repair; exterior lighting and more.

“I was contacted by a representative from Rep. (Craig) Riedel’s office to see if we were still interested, and I said, ‘Yes, we are still committed to renovating and updating our auditorium, because there are still renovations that need to be done,’” said Morton. “I received a letter from Sen. (Rob) McColley and Rep. Riedel telling us that we are receiving $150,000. I thanked the two of them for all their help in this.”

In other business, the board:

• voted for amended appropriations and amended certificate for 2021.

• approved a parental leave request for Michala Reiser from approximately Jan. 12-March 8.

• okayed the following maternity leave requests: Cindy Rocha for approximately six weeks beginning April 5; and Chelsie Powell from approximately April 19 to the end of the school year.

• voted for military leave for Austin Carr from approximately Feb. 21-Nov. 13.

• approved the resignation of the following individuals: Tammi Elwood as a student services support specialist, effective Feb. 12; Anna Hanel as a Defiance Elementary aide, four hours per day, effective Jan. 11; Barbi Smith, bus driver, 4.5 hours per day, effective Jan. 13; and Debra Warnimont, bus aide, 5.75 hours per day, effective Jan. 22.

• voted for the following substitute employments for 2021: Ashlee Kelty, aide/cafeteria; Caesar Gonzales, bus/van driver; Matt Clausen, bus/van driver; and Barbi Smith, bus driver.

• approved the following supplemental contracts for 2020-21: Obie Mouser, winter boys track; Steve Wahl, boys head track (shared), and head girls track; Libby Burkhart, boys head track (shared); Austin Trivett and Obie Mouser, varsity track assistants; Fred Gruber, middle school boys track assistant; Steve Rittenour and Cooper Morton, middle school girls track assistants; Tom Held, varsity baseball; Rick Weaver, varsity baseball assistant; Travis Cooper, junior varsity baseball coach; Gabe Vittorio and Brock Bergman, summer baseball; Jacob Jimenez, volunteer baseball; Dennis Parrish, varsity softball; Josh Shock, varsity softball assistant; Jennifer Davis, junior varsity softball; Katie Davis, freshman softball; Brooklyn Miller, volunteer softball; Charles Bates, boys tennis; Amy McDonald and Ed Stephens, volunteer boys tennis.

• okayed annual membership in the Ohio School Boards Association for calendar year 2021 at a cost of $6,998.

• voted for the updated substitute teachers list from the NwOESC.

• accepted the following donations: new weight racks from the Defiance Football Alumni Association with a total value of $100; $275 from Wells Fargo Advisors to DECA; $367.29 from Realty Five of Defiance Give 5 for Charity Program to the high school athletic department; $500 from Jason and Dawn Hutcheson to be used toward the athletic department deficit of 2020; $1,000 from Kathryn Groff to be used toward the athletic department deficit of 2020; and $3,947.97 from the Defiance Football Alumni Association to be used to purchase two racks for the stadium weight room.

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