AYERSVILLE — The Ayersville Local Board of Education held its organizational Monday evening, with a newly-appointed member sworn in to serve on the board (see related story, Page A1). During the regular meeting, the board heard discussion about real estate valuation and the natatorium levy.

Elected president for 2021 was Lanie Lambert, while Dan Frederick was elected vice president.

Newly appointed member Matt Hanenkrath was appointed as legislative liaison to the Ohio School Boards Association, while Shelby Martinez was appointed as student achievement liaison.

Also appointed were: Char Ondrus, athletic boosters; Martinez, music boosters; Frederick, PTO; and Hanenkrath, Ayersville Education Foundation.

Lambert and Ondrus were appointed to the superintendent’s policy advisory committee, while Frederick and Martinez were appointed to the treasurer’s financial review committee.

The duties of the treasurer were authorized as follows:

• to seek advances of tax monies as they become available and to invest funds as they may be available throughout 2021; convene meetings of the records commission; establish a board service fund for the board in the amount of $5,000; to apply for and participate in various grants and entitlement programs.

The duties of the superintendent were authorized as follows:

• to act as the purchasing agent for the board for 2021; to be a representative to the tax incentive review council; to enter into collective and individual agreements with Ohio colleges and universities for College Credit Plus; to approve a resolution of expenditure of public funds for various purposes for 2021.

In addition, the treasurer and/or superintendent were appointed as the board designee for public records training. The third Monday of the month at 6 p.m. was designated as the date and time for regular meetings with the exception of June, when the meeting will be held on June 28.

During the regular meeting of the board, CFO/treasurer Abby Sharp discussed real estate valuations, as well as an update on the natatorium levy renewal.

As far as real estate valuations, Sharp said: “Taxpayers will be paying more in 2021 due to higher a higher millages. Last year we were at 31.9 mills, this year it will go up to 32.26 mills, but that being said, the district will be receiving less tax revenue to the tune of about $225,000.”

Sharp went on to explain that all property valuation in the district decreased by $5 million, which led to the increase in taxes for district residents due to that drop-off. It also led to the loss of the $225,000.

Frederick asked Sharp to make a “cheat sheet” for board members so that when asked about this by the public, they can explain it concisely.

Last month, the board voted approved a resolution of necessity to put the natatorium renewal levy on the ballot for May, however, the district learned it would cost $14,000 in order to do so. Because of the cost, the renewal will be moved to the November ballot.

If the levy is not renewed in November, the next time it comes up for a vote it will be considered as a new levy, meaning district taxpayers will lose discounts reserved for renewal levies.

“It was not cost effective for us to put this on the ballot in May,” said Sharp.

In his report, superintendent Don Diglia shared that students in the district returned to in-person learning Monday, and that it was great to have everyone back in the building. Ayersville grades 7-12 principal Rob Luderman echoed Diglia’s sentiment.

“After 16 days of school dating back to Dec. 8, we have all students in grades 7-12 back in the building,” said Luderman. “The staff and students did an incredible job while we were in a remote learning environment. A big thank you to parents and families for the support.”

Diglia shared also that Gov. Mike DeWine announced a new less restrictive quarantine policy for schools in Ohio.

“Some good news on COVID-19, there are new quarantine standards for students in classrooms,” said Diglia. “Students who are attending in-person school (or on school transportation) may continue to attend school even in a normal quarantine period if students were a close contact in the classroom (or on a bus) if a student wore a mask, maintained social distancing requirements, washed his/her hands and followed cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

“This does not include students who were exposed outside the classroom, including athletics and other extracurricular actives regardless of masking,” added Diglia. “If an athlete is a confirmed close contact, they may return to school after 10 days, but cannot resume participation in extracurricular activity until the 14-day quarantine is completed.”

It does not include time spent in the cafeteria as well, because students do not wear masks when eating.

Diglia shared the changes in quarantining for close contact has happened are: “We (and schools in Ohio) have been vigilant in following COVID-19 protocols including disinfecting classrooms, wearing masks, practicing social distancing and washing hands.”

In other business, the board:

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

• voted for a resolution of expenditure of public funds for various purchases such as: meals, food, beverages, etc ...; uniforms; promotion items; educational items; recognition items; gift cards; seasonal decorations; emergency family assistance; and costs for meetings, banquets and other events.

• okayed the creation of Fund 499-9021 school safety and security grant for fiscal year 2021; and okayed the following adjustments and appropriations: revenue increase of $3,738.02 for Fund 499 (state grants); and appropriations of $3,738.02 for Fund 499 (state grants).

• approved the updated lists of certified substitutes and paraprofessionals from the NwOESC for 2020-21.

• accepted the resignation of Brenda Pahl, food-service worker, effective Jan. 16.

• commended Tucker Sprow, a sixth-grader at Ayersville Middle School who won this year’s school spelling bee.

• accepted the following donations: $1,500 from Eagles Defiance Aerie 372 to boys basketball; $500 from Defiance Eagles Aerie 372 to football; $250 from the Ayersville PTO for the Read-A-Thon; $146.15 from the Ayersville PTO for parent-teacher conference meals: $5,582.50 from United Way of Defiance County for the Defiance County Book Drive; and $180 from United Way of Defiance County for holiday break food.

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