The Defiance City Board of Education held its organizational meeting Wednesday, followed by its regular meeting.

During the regular meeting, the board approved a resolution to close out its Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) project, and heard about updated COVID-19 guidelines (see related story below).

During the organizational meeting, Michael Wahl was elected to serve as president, while Chris Oberlin was chosen as vice president for 2022.

Following the regular meeting, the board met in executive session to discuss employment.

Following executive session, the board voted to increase the hourly wage of the district’s fiscal specialist by $1.50 per hour, effective Jan. 3.

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 Wednesday of the month (except March, May, July, November 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 (OSBA) legislative liaison, and Oberlin as the OSBA educational liaison.

• setting the board service fund at $2,000 for 2022.

• 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 2022.

• 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, Swisher discussed the closing of the OFCC project, reiterating that it has been balanced to the penny, and ready for the board to approve a resolution to close the project funds.

The total building expenditures for the project were, $55,925,395.94.

“I’m really excited about the OFCC closing resolution,” said Swisher. “The books will officially be closed, they (OFCC) will finish their calculations, it will get signed off to OFCC and any funds remaining will be distributed.”

Superintendent Bob Morton, who was in attendance via Zoom, stated after the meeting: “We’re very proud of the facility, and we thank the community for voting to build it. I think the facilities that have been provided are second to none, and the community can be proud of them for decades to come.”

The board approved the resolution to close out the project.

In his report, Morton shared modified COVID guidelines that have been put in place in all the county schools. Those guidelines include occurrences outside of school, and occurrences in the school setting.

“It’s really important for families, if they have the slightest of symptoms, to keep their child home,” said Morton. “The best defense for serious illness is still a vaccination, and people have to do their best if they’re ill to stay home and stay away from each other.”

The superintendent went on to share the district has finalized an the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Defiance Police Department, concerning the addition of a second school resource officer (SRO) at Defiance Elementary School (DES).

Although the SRO began working at DES at the beginning of the year, the City of Defiance needed to update bylaws in order for that officer to be added to the police force.

The board approved the MOU.

In other business, the board:

• approved a change in network for the district’s Section 125 plan from Allied Benefit Systems to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, effective Jan. 1.

• OK’d a bank depository agreement with Premier Bank.

• voted to send the Defiance baseball team on a spring trip to Bradenton, Fla., March 18-25.

• approved increasing the classified hourly substitutes wages from $9.50 an hour to $11 an hour for secretary/clerical subs; library/computer aides; education/playground aides; and food service subs, effective Jan. 1.

• OK’d maternity leave for Katie Harter from approximately April 27 to the end of 2021-22.

• voted for an extension of a medical leave of absence for Sally Singer from approximately Jan. 2 to the end of 2021-22.

• accepted the retirement resignation of Curtis Aldrich, bus driver, effective May 31. Aldrich served the district for 12 years; and the resignation of Kodee Killgallon, prekindergarten bus route, 1.25 hours per day, effective Dec. 17, 2021.

• approved the transfer of Abby Guilford-Ryan from server at DES, three hours per day, to cashier at DES, three hours per day, effective Dec. 20, 2021.

• OK’d the employment of Sheri Cereghin, DES dish room, three hours per day, effective Dec. 13, 2021; and Lee Martinez, substitute cafeteria as needed, for 2021-22.

• voted to add the prekindergarten bus route, 1.25 hours per day, for Brenda Graf to her current route, effective Jan. 4, for a total of 5.25 hours per day.

• approved Danny Assaf as varsity assistant wrestling volunteer coach; and Hannah Amrich as middle school girls’ assistant track coach.

• OK’d annual membership in the Ohio School Boards Association for calendar year 2022, at a cost of $6,988.

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