LIBERTY CENTER — An update on vaccinations and renovations was presented to the Liberty Center Local Board of Education Monday evening. In addition, the board approved a resolution confirming its commitment to the Northwest Ohio Athletic League (NWOAL).
Superintendent Richie Peters explained due to the winter storm that hit the region last week, staff in the district who wanted to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 19 were unable to do so because of a delay in getting the vaccine to Ohio. Feb. 19 was a scheduled professional development (PD) day, meaning students did not have to attend school. The PD day was pushed back, however, and students did attend classes that day.
“With this week’s weather, it prohibited us from having the PD day last Friday, so we changed it back to a student day,” said Peters. “We found out today (Monday) vaccinations will be available Friday, so we will have a PD day on Friday, which will allow staff who want to get the vaccine the opportunity to do so.”
The second round of vaccinations is scheduled for March 26. Students will not be in school that day, and it will be a PD day for staff.
Approved by the board was a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Liberty Center Classroom Teachers’ Association (LCCTA) to modify the calendar for the COVID-19 vaccination program. The MOU will remain in effect though the 2020-21 school year.
Discussion was heard by the board on athletic facility renovations, in which Peters shared construction manager-at-risk Rupp/Rosebrock is awaiting final drawings from architect Garmann Miller for renovations of the metal building and the 1995 gymnasium/locker room area. Once those drawings are completed, Rupp/Rosebrock will come back with a guaranteed maximum price. That is expected to happen by the March meeting of the board.
“Everything is moving forward, with an anticipated completion date for renovations before the fall sports seasons start,” said Peters.
The board approved a resolution expressing its commitment to the NWOAL, of which Liberty Center was a charter member in 1926. The commitment is for the next four years, so long as the NWOAL exists in its current format with the seven other area school districts that currently constitute the league.
The NWOAL, which has been recognized as the oldest league in Ohio, sent the same resolution to each members’ school board to consider.
“Each institution in the NWOAL has the option of taking this resolution to its respective board,” said Peters. “We presented this to our board, and what the resolution states is that Liberty Center is committed to the league. There has been a lot of speculation, not only about our league, but many leagues in northwest Ohio, which happens every so often.
“School districts look to realign for various reasons, such as enrollment numbers, competitive balance and those types of things,” continued Peters. “Every school has to look at the best interest of its extra-curriculars and what its needs are, but we are expressing that we are committed to the NWOAL for at least the next four years, as long as it stays the same. We’re hoping each district in our conference passes this resolution as well.
“We love the tradition of the NWOAL, everything it represents, and the rivalries we love competing in every year,” added Peters. “It’s our hope this squelches any speculation, as least on the part of Liberty Center, that we want to get out of the league.”
In other business, the board:
• approved a resolution that in lieu of executing a surety bond, the board may authorize the treasurer, superintendent and board to be covered by an insurance policy by a board approved and accredited insurance carrier or joint self-insurance pool. The policy must cover the board from losses cause by the fraudulent or dishonest actions of, and the failure to perform a duty prescribed by the law of the treasurer and other employees.
• ratified the revised foundation deduction agreement with the NwOESC for special education services for fiscal year 2021. The reduction is revised to an annual amount of $539,960.37.
• okayed an agreement with the NwOESC to provide services from July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022, at a cost of $686,832.05.
• voted for the retirement/resignation of David Grim, high school math teacher, effective May 31. Grim has served the district for 25 years; and the resignation of Diane Gwinn, bus driver, effective Feb. 11. Gwinn has served the district for 31 years.
• approved Aubrey Overmier as a substitute bus driver for 2020-21.
• okayed the NwOESC substitute teacher list and paraprofessional lists for 2020-21.
• voted for Lori Giesige, intervention specialist, as a tutor for middle school students for a minimum of five hours per week through the end of 2020-21; Raellen Merritt as a volunteer track coach for 2020-21; and Sheila Parcher as a long-term substitute intervention specialist, effective Feb. 17 through the end of 2020-21.
• approved depository agreements with Huntington Bank, Farmers & Merchants State Bank and Henry County Bank, each for a period of five years from March 17, 2021-March 16, 2026.
• okayed a service agreement with the NwOESC for autism diagnostic observation schedule (ADOS) services at a rate of $88.60 per hour, to be provided at Liberty Center Local Schools and the Liberty Education Center.
• accepted the following donations: 2,000 masks from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation; and $2,826.10 for softball uniforms from an anonymous donor.