LIBERTY CENTER — The Liberty Center Local Board of Education held its annual organizational meeting, and approved professional design services and solicitation of qualification for construction manager at-risk services to renovate the district’s 1995 gymnasium, athletic metal building and to build a new soccer field at the spring sports complex, during its regular meeting that followed Monday evening.

During the organizational meeting, elected as president and vice president for 2021, and sworn into those roles, were Neal Carter and Jeff Benson, respectively.

Other business included:

• establishing the meeting date and time of regular board meetings on the fourth Monday of each month at 7 p.m., with the exception of December.

• establishing the district records commission comprised of Peters, treasurer/CFO Jenell Buenger and Carter.

• authorizing Buenger to request from the Henry County auditor and the Fulton County auditor an advance draw of taxes during calendar year 2021 if, and/or necessary funds are available.

• establishing a service fund for the board of education in the amount of $8,000 for calendar year 2021.

• approving the legal firms of Ennis Britton Co.; Plassman, Rupp, Hagans & Newton; Squire Patton Boggs; and O’Toole, McLaughlin, Dooley & Pecora for legal services for calendar year 2021.

• appointing Peters as purchasing agent for the district for calendar year 2021; authorizing him to enter into collective and individual agreements with Ohio colleges and universities for terms related to College Credit Plus (CCP); authorizing him to accept resignations submitted by employees when the board is not in session; authorizing him to offer employment to candidates for either teaching or non-teaching positions when the board is not in session; and approving him as the district’s representative to the Henry County Enterprise Zone Tax Incentive Review Council.

• appointing Benson as the treasurer pro tempore in the absence of the treasurer.

• appointing Peters and/or Buenger as a designee to attend public record access training required for board members for each term of office.

Following the organizational meeting, the board approved a pair of resolutions geared toward athletic renovations in the district.

Passed was a resolution authorizing the execution of a contract for professional design services related to the gymnasium and athletic metal building at the football stadium renovations with Garmann Miller Architects for a fee not to exceed $50,000. Passed also was a resolution for the solicitation of statements of qualifications for construction manager at-risk services related to the renovation projects, including the new soccer field.

“We are moving forward with the design for the renovations with our architect Garmann Miller, and looking for a construction manager at-risk for the renovations to the gym, metal building, and the creation of a soccer field at the spring sports complex,” said Peters. “The estimated cost of the project is $1.2 million, and we are using the remaining funds from the K-12 building, along with a tax anticipation note.

“That, in essence, allows us to borrow against our PI (permanent improvement levy) funds, with anticipation of permanent improvement revenue,” continued Peters. “We sent out the request for qualifications (for a construction manager at-risk) Dec. 23, (2020) that will be out until Jan. 25, and at that time our evaluation committee will look at those requests before hiring the top candidate.”

Peters explained work is expected to begin on the projects at the beginning of March, with a completion target date before fall sports begin.

The superintendent gave an update on COVID-19, telling the board that school started back in person on Jan. 4, and that there hasn’t been an increase in cases. He shared Gov. Mike DeWine changed the quarantine protocols for students who may have been exposed to the virus at school or on a bus, saying a student or staff member does not have to quarantine as long as that person/persons followed safety protocols.

The exceptions are if a student or staff member was exposed in the cafeteria, or during athletic or extracurricular activities when not wearing a mask.

Peters also explained that DeWine is looking to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine to school staff in Phase 1B, so that all Ohio districts are in session by March 1.

“I’m very pleased with the change in quarantine protocols, because it gives us the likelihood of staying in school, in person, for the rest of the year,” said Peters. “I’m also very pleased the governor is emphasizing education in the second round of vaccinations. We plan to take a survey to see how many staff want the vaccine, we will share that with our county health department, and coordinate the vaccination effort.”

In other business, the board:

• were recognized and thanked as part of Board Recognition Month.

• advanced Lukas Hutchinson, classroom teacher, to the master’s column on the LCCTA negotiated agreement salary schedule, effective at the beginning of the 2020-21 second semester.

• okayed the 2021-21 school calendar, with a student start date of Aug. 24; the last day of school of May 26, 2022; and graduation May 29, 2022.

• approved membership in the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) at a cost of $5,301 for calendar year 2021; and participation in the OSBA legal assistance fund consultant service at a cost of $250 for calendar year 2021.

• okayed the 2021 mileage rate at 56 cents per mile for all non-union employees. All LCCTA and OAPSE members will receive mileage reimbursement at the current IRS rate of 56 cents per mile. The athletic mileage rate is set at the LCCTA contract rate of 32 cents per mile.

• adopted the alternative tax budget package for fiscal year 2022 (July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022) to be submitted to the Henry County Budget Commission.

• accepted the following donations: $190 from David Farm Service for spray application; $350 from Davis Farm Service for fertilizer application; $800 from Davis Farm Service for mowing; and $5,000 from an anonymous donor for fencing at the football field.

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