A purchase agreement between the Defiance City Board of Education and the city of Defiance for the 1918 school building, was approved by the board of education during its regular meeting Monday. The members also approved the five-year fiscal forecast, and took action on raising substitute pay.

At the end of the regular meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss a purchase agreement with the city to purchase the former 1918 building, which over the years served as Defiance High School, Defiance Junior High School and Defiance Middle School, until January of 2018. Following executive session, the board approved selling the property for $1, under the terms that the city of Defiance has five years to find a user for it.

If after five years the city is unable to find a user, the building will be demolished, using $300,000 the Defiance Area Foundation donated for that purpose. That money offsets the cost of demolishing the building that was part of the approved bond issue that built the grades 6-12 building which houses Defiance Middle School and Defiance High School. The city is expected to approve the agreement at its next council meeting.

In September, the 1918 building was granted National Register status by the National Register of Historic Places.

“This agreement is a win for the community,” said superintendent Bob Morton. “When the city approves the agreement and develops the property in the new future, the entire community will benefit. It says a lot that there was a community action group that worked to save it, and that the board and city could come together to work on a resolution for the building.”

Meanwhile, treasurer Cheryl Swisher presented the detailed five-year fiscal forecast, which shows the district is projected to see deficit spending of $349,475 by the end of fiscal year 2020, following deficit spending of $178,026 in fiscal year 2019.

However, the cash balance of the district is expected to remain in the black until fiscal year 2024 when a deficit of $3,005,137 is projected.

“As Cheryl and I progress through this school year, we have to look at our expenditures and see what we can control, and minimize what we can when it comes to deficit spending this year,” said Morton. “Ideally, we would like to not spend more than our revenue, so we will analyze every expenditure, see what is absolutely necessary, and get that to a zero.

“We’ve been looking at this since the summer, so it’s not something we just started doing,” continued Morton. “We know we need to get a handle on it now, so that it doesn’t become a bigger problem as we move out to 2020-21 and beyond, because it will compound. Working on it now, on the front end, will prevent it from becoming a huge problem later in the forecast.”

The board approved the forecast.

At the Oct. 28 meeting of the board, Morton shared the district wasn’t paying as much for substitutes and paraprofessionals as many districts in the surrounding area. At that time, the board asked Morton to bring in a list of what other districts in the area pay. After looking over the list, the board approved bumping the pay for teacher substitutes from $85 per day to $95 per day, and paraprofessionals from $9 an hour to $9.50 an hour.

The amount is expected to cost the district and extra $10,000 for the rest of the 2019-20 school year (included as part of the five-year forecast).

In other business, the board:

• presented Jenny Derringer and Tim McDonough with the Ohio School Boards Association’s Media Honor Roll award.

• established Fund 536 for the use of Title I non-competitive, supplemental, school improvement funds.

• voted to recognize the Defiance Elementary PTO as a district support organization.

• approved amended appropriations and amended certificate for fiscal year 2020.

• okayed new board policies and revisions due to changes in state and federal laws.

• voted for an overnight trip for the Defiance High School band to Toronto from Nov. 13-15, 2020.

• approved the following employments: Deena Karnes, third-grade after-school instructor, effective Nov. 11; Timothy Vargo, substitute bus driver, effective Nov. 1; Jessica Deatrick, substitute bus driver, effective for 2019-20; Kate Smolik, fall play for 2019-20; Amy Zipfel, middle school girls basketball; Jonah Schlegel, varsity wrestling assistant volunteer coach; Cheyann Westrick-Turner, middle school winter cheer coach; and Kim Nichols, winter concessions.

• okayed maternity leave for the following individuals: Jessie Wolfrum, from approximately Jan. 13, 2020-March 16, 2020; Katie Harter, from approximately Jan. 31, 2020-March 30, 2020; and Carissa Lower, from approximately Nov. 14-Jan 5, 2020.

• accepted the following donations: $78.97 from Kroger Round Up Rewards to girls soccer; two anonymous donations of $50 each to the middle school cafeteria; $150 to the high school quiz team from Wilson Curly Fries; a Maytag washer and dryer valued at $914.95 for use in the Defiance High School training room from three anonymous donors; $2,500 from The State Bank for the high school gym video board; and $2,850 from the Defiance Elementary PTO to Defiance Elementary School for fifth-grade camp.

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