Superintendent Bob Morton of Defiance City Schools discussed the reopening of school in the fall during the regular meeting of the Defiance City Board of Education on Monday at Defiance High School. That discussion included sending a survey to parents/guardians of the community for input.
In addition, the board voted following executive session to make cuts for the 2020-21 school year, in anticipation of a reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The action was taken following communication from the state that schools can expect at least a 10% reduction in revenue from the state (see related story, Page A1).
The board also hired Bryn Lehman to replace his father, Kirk Lehman, as head boys basketball coach at Defiance High School following Kirk’s resignation in May (see related story, Page B1).
“The hottest topic not only in the area, but in the state of Ohio is, are schools going to open this fall?” asked Morton. “Gov. DeWine stated last week the state would have some recommended guidance this week, so I anticipate that as early as tomorrow, or as late as Thursday.
“In my dealings with superintendents, county health commissioners and doctors, it’s looking like we will be given some recommendations to follow, and let boards of educations and community come up with how those will be followed.”
Morton explained that what he expects is a system much like a stop light: green means schools are open and cases are not on the rise; yellow means cases are on the rise, and schools will be asked to implement a blended learning plan (some kids in school, others doing distance learning); and red meaning school closes and there will be distance learning like this past spring.
The superintendent also shared a draft of a survey with the board members to get their input on making any changes before it goes out to the public, following those recommendations from the state. When ready, those surveys will be emailed to parents/guardians in the district, with surveys also available on the district website, defiancecityschools.org.
In his report, Morton also shared that renovations to the Defiance Community Auditorium will include painting that began on Monday by Clifford R. Hunt Inc. of Defiance, curtains to be replaced the week of July 6, and carpet to be installed the first week of August. The renovations are part of $277,060 in upgrades to the facility.
In other business, the board:
• approved final appropriations for fiscal year 2020, and temporary appropriations for fiscal year 2021.
• okayed participation in federal programs and the federal lunch and breakfast programs for 2020-21. Allocation for federal grants are as follows: Title I, $484,820.86; Title II-A, $85,408.08; Title IV, $38,249.75; IDEA-B, $576,522.52; Title III, unknown with $3,000 added to temporary appropriations; ESCE (preschool), $20,727.65; ESSER (CARES), $423,104.77.
• voted for the renewal of property, fleet, liability and cyber insurance with Liberty Mutual Insurance through First Insurance and Investments at a cost of $137,254, effective July 1, 2020-July 1, 2021.
• approved a two-year agreement with McManus and Dosen for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 for the Medicaid Independent Audit at a cost of $9,800.
• okayed the following home instructors, substitute teachers, and support staff as needed, for 2020-21: Home instructors — Jennifer Davis, Tammi Elwood; Mary Frank and Martha Mallott. Substitute teachers — Shirley Browns, Amy Winner and Martha Mallott. Support staff — Amy Foster, substitute aide; Brenda Janowiecki, substitute aide; Tod Liffick, substitute bus driver; and Lorena Martinez, substitute aide.
• voted for Kevin Kline as high school business department head; and Jennifer Stinnett as head girls cross country coach.
• accepted the resignation of Kirk Lehman from summer boys basketball; and Cheryl Westrick, high school secretary, effective June 30. Westrick has served the district for 15 years.
• approved a technical services agreement with NBEC/NWOCA in the amount of $69,246.80.
• okayed Defiance City Schools as fiscal agent for the ECSE-IDEA grant consortium and as Title III, English Language Acquisition grant consortium.
• voted for the Defiance High School and Defiance Elementary School handbooks for 2020-21.
• accepted the following donations: $64.24 from Kroger Round Up Rewards to girls soccer: $100 each from Xperience Church, the Defiance Dream Center and the Defiance County Law Enforcement Association to the DES Amazing Shake for 2020-21; $300 from the Defiance Optimist Club to the DES Amazing Shake for 2020-21; $1,000 from the Shindler family toward the remodeling of the stadium weight room; $5,000 from the Defiance Football Alumni Association toward the remodeling of the stadium weight room (specifically for the installation of lockers); and $20,000 from the Defiance Athletic Boosters toward the remodeling of the stadium weight room.