WAUSEON — The Wauseon Exempted Village Board of Education heard from a couple of concerned parents, plus took in reports from the treasurer about a levy issue and from transportation supervisor Jill Shehorn during a busy meeting on Monday.
Tiffany and Mike O’Neill were present at the meeting to understand the rules on masks for kids during gym class.
“I have read a couple statements from Mr. Armstrong (Wauseon superintendent Troy Armstrong) saying it is the parents’ choice,” said Mrs. O’Neill. “I have been told by Mr. Friess (middle school principal Joe Friess) that my daughter has to wear a mask in gym class and if she does not, she will fail gym class. So I’m curious as to what the answer is.”
Mr. Armstrong gave a quick answer.
“Yes, masks are worn during class and gym is a class,” he said.
O’Neill brought up the kids spacing six feet apart in class.
“I know there is an exception for six feet apart and for physical activity, not having to wear a mask,” she said. “My question is, if they are in a gymnasium with 25 kids, why are they not spaced out where they don’t have to wear a mask?”
Again, the superintendent gave a quick answer.
“There are times in the gymnasium when kids are spaces six feet apart and they are not wearing a mask. There is strenuous activity, they are not wearing mask. Other than that, they are wearing a mask in gym class.”
Armstrong also told everybody at the meeting the rules being used at Wauseon for gym class are the same for all Fulton County schools.
“My principals have been in those classrooms and I’ve spoken with every physical education teacher and that’s what happening,” said Armstrong. “It’s also what’s happening at all other six Fulton County schools when it comes to physical education class.”
Mrs. O’Neill disagreed.
“Any parent I’ve talked to with children in Archbold is saying their children are wearing masks in gym class,” she said. “So, are all the Wauseon students lying to their parents?”
Armstrong again answered the parents’ concern.
“All I know is I’ve spoken with the county superintendents and what they are doing in gym class is the exact same as what I described here,” he said.
The board heard from treasurer David Fleming about a levy issue that will be on the November ballot.
“Troy (Armstrong) and I have been working on getting a replacement levy on the November ballot,” Fleming told the board. “It’s called a substitute levy.”
The plan is to replace the current emergency levy that has been in place since 1991.
“In my estimation, the emergency is probably now behind us,” remarked Fleming. “We have two emergency levies on our books now, and sometime in the distant future, these two levies are going to cross paths.”
The new levy will allow for more money on new construction.
“With the way the levy is set up now, we do not receive any new revenue with any new construction,” said Fleming.
The levy would also be a continuing levy.
“It’ll ensure we won’t have to go back to the voters every five years and ask for something that we can not afford to live without. It’s very critical.”
The levy would generate the same amount of money, $835,000 that it has generated since 1991.
“The consequences of not substituting this levy, would mean an immediate reduction in force,” said Fleming. “We would be very quickly placed on the state’s watch list and we would have to put freezes on raises for the foreseeable future.”
New transportation supervisor, Jill Shehorn, who took over before the beginning of the school year, closed the meeting by giving a quick report. She stated that because of students in virtual learning, they needed less bus routes for the year. She also told the board the district is looking for additional substitute bus drivers.
The board also:
• approved permanent appropriations for fiscal year 2021.
• approved the certificate of estimated resources for fiscal year 2021.
• approved the memorandum of understanding with the Wauseon Education Association to reduce pay increases for the 2020-21 school year from 1.9 percent to 0.9 percent.
• approved an early graduation request from Jac Schroeder.