LIBERTY CENTER — Academic and athletic success was celebrated by the Liberty Center Local Board of Education during its regular meeting Monday evening. The board also handled several personnel and boilerplate measures.

Erica Rae Herrick was commended for being a state finalist in the “Letters About Literature” writing contest sponsored by the Library of Congress Center for the Book and presented, in Ohio, in partnership with the Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library. Herrick was one of seven high school finalists, out of 657 in Ohio. She read the book “Eden” by Joey Graceffa, and earned honorable mention for the letter she wrote to Graceffa as part of the contest.

Herrick will attend a recognition luncheon with her family at the Cleveland Public Library on May 11.

“Congratulations Erica Rae, your letter obviously made a difference to the author, and to the judges,” said Liberty Center High School principal Larry Black.

Also commended were the Liberty Center gymnastics team that competed at state and placed 12th overall, and the Liberty Center Competition Cheer Team that placed first at the OASSA State Cheer Competition for the third straight year, and first at the Americheer International Competition in Orlando, Fla. Gymnasts Meredith Zeiter and Bailey Johnson were also commended for competing in individual events at state.

“Congratulations to everyone, we’re all very proud of you, and the way you’ve represented Liberty Center,” said school board president Neal Carter.

Superintendent Richie Peters and Liberty Center Elementary principal Kelly Hartbarger shared that due to a change in a letter grade by the Ohio Department of Education from 2013-14 concerning its English/language arts assessment, students in grades K-4 in the district are now eligible for the Ohio Ed Choice grant. If students meet the financial criteria, they can apply for the scholarship which can be used to help offset the cost of attending parochial school.

The grade in English/language arts was changed from a “C” to a “D,” after the state regraded all the assessments from that year following appeals by several districts in Ohio. That opened the door for K-4 students in the Liberty Center district to be eligible for the Ohio Ed Choice Scholarship.

“We’ve been working very hard as a district on literacy for some time, and we will continue to work hard at it,” said Hartbarger. “This decision could change in the future, depending on our assessment grade in the future, and we are keeping a close eye on the data to make sure we’re where we need to be.”

In literacy news, Hartbarger, and Liberty Center Middle School principal Nick Mariano, shared that the distrcit has met the 1,000,000-Minute Reading Challenge, and that the staff is working on the reward for the students. That reward will happen following assessments, which are taking place now.

A locally-funded initiative (LFI) advance of $300,000 approved at the July 17, 2017, board meeting, was approved as a permanent transfer to the LFI Fund at Monday’s meeting. That money was used during the OFCC construction project, specifically on the bus garage for the district, and needed to be returned.

At the February meeting, Liberty Center Athletics Booster president Mark Bly shared a presentation about the boosters updating the concession stand at the football field. On Monday, the board approved a license agreement with the boosters for the remodel of the stand, for liability and warranty issues.

The board, like many other districts in the area, voted also to administer the state third-grade English/language arts assessment and the math assessment in a paper format, instead of by computer, beginning with the 2019-20 school year.

“We feel this will give our students the best chance at being successful in these assessments,” said Peters.

In other business, the board:

• approved the following contracts for certified staff beginning with 2019-20: one-year contracts: Katherine Bell and Emily Hill. Two-year contracts: Mary Bentacur, Ashley Braucksieck, Renee Ellis and Danielle Helberg. Three-year contracts: Nicole Carter, Steven Doseck, Stephanie Echler, Brittany Edwards, Jill Evans, Brett Green, Liz Halleck, Nick Riley and Jacob Rupp. Continuing contract: Rebecca Tejkl.

• offered the following contracts: a continuing contract to Diana Smith as an education aide beginning with 2019-20; a two-year contract to Bailey Tejkl as a bus driver beginning with 2019-20; Bonnie McGilvery a two-year contract as a lunchroom cashier for 3.5 hours per day, effective Sept. 4, 2019-Sept 3. 2021; a continuing contract to Mary Ann Reimund as a bus driver, effective Aug. 22.

• voted to non-renew all 2018-19 supplemental contracts.

• approved the following staff transfers: Kathy Bishop from kindergarten teacher to kindergarten/Early 5s teacher; and Jodi Biederstedt from third-grade teacher to kindergarten teacher.

• approved amended 2018-19 student activity budgets for Liberty Center FFA and the Football Mom’s Group.

• okayed donations from Dr. Jeff Lauf; Dental Excellence of Napoleon, Reynolds Insurance; 20/20 Plastics; Davis Farm Service; KK Collision; BA Miller; Kennametal; Holgate Metal Fab; Black Swamp; and Pandrol Inc. for the cheerleader trip to cheer internationals.

• voted for new fund and special cost center appropriation modifications and amended certificate increases for the following: new fund and special cost center: 6B Idea Restoration Grant and 6B Preschool Restoration Grant. Increase appropriations: FFA for $14,300; 6B Idea Restoration Grant for $23,962.63; Football Mom’s Group for $22,000; and 6B Preschool Restoration Grant for $219.50. Increase amended certificate: FFA for $20,000; 6B Idea Restoration Grant for $23,962.63; Football Mom’s Group for $27,000; and 6B Preschool Restoration Grant for $219.50.

• okayed FFA students and advisors to attend the Ohio FFA Camp in Muskingum County from June 17-21; to send the girls basketball team and coach to attend an overnight camp at the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne from June 19-21; and to send the boys basketball team and coach to the University of Findlay from June 19-20.

• voted for the 2019 graduating seniors from Liberty Center High School, contingent upon successful completion of graduation requirements.

• approved the internet service agreement with NBEC/NWOCA from July 1, 2019-June 30, 2022 at a cost of $30,191.14 for fiscal year 2020; an estimated cost of $31,096.87 for fiscal year 2021; and an estimated cost of $32,029.78 for fiscal year 2022.

• okayed the managed internal broadband service agreement with NBEC/NWOCA from July 1, 2019-June 30, 2022, at an annual cost of $18,491.27.

• voted for the windstream service agreement for internet services at the Liberty Education Center.

• approved an agreement with the Northwest Ohio Virtual Academy that all members shall contribute to the cost sharing of any overages based on proportion of active enrolled users in the district.

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