LIBERTY CENTER — The Liberty Center Local Board of Education approved a new contract with the Liberty Center Classroom Teachers’ Association (LCCTA), accepted the resignation of an administrator, and approved the five-year fiscal forecast during its regular meeting Monday evening.
Approved by the board was a one-year contract with the LCCTA in which the association agreed on a 2% raise for all bargaining unit members with no changes to insurance. The agreement is effective Sept. 1, 2020-Aug. 30, 2021. In addition, the sides agreed the district will make the same contributions to those association members on the HD plan for 2020-21, as it did for 2019-20.
“I applaud the teachers’ association in working with the board to come up with an agreement, to essentially roll over the contract for one more year with a 2% increase on the base, with all other benefits and language the same (as the previous three-year contract),” said Liberty Center superintendent Richie Peters. “The thought behind that, as opposed to going into a full-fledged negotiation where you get a typical three-year agreement, was with these uncertain times, it would be prudent to do this for one year, see where we are next year knowing a lot can change between now and next spring.
“Hopefully, with this, we’ve set ourselves up for positive negotiations next spring,” added Peters.
Accepted was the resignation of Liberty Center Middle School principal Nick Mariano, effective July 31. Mariano has served the district for three years.
“We wish Mr. Mariano the best in the next phase of his career,” said Peters. “We will get to work right away to find a quality replacement for Nick who can move the middle school building forward and the district forward.”
Peters explained the position will be posted through June 2, a committee will be formed to interview candidates, and a decision on Mariano’s replacement should be made by the June meeting of the board.
Treasurer/CFO Jenell Buenger presented the five-year fiscal forecast which shows the district in the black for fiscal year 2020, but in the red the last four years of the forecast. Despite a cut of more than $180,000 from the state due to the coronavirus pandemic, the district will finish ahead by $890,000 thanks to the district receiving tax money of $900,000 from the Nexus Pipeline.
“If you look at the five-year forecast, we’re in good shape for a couple of different reasons,” said Peters. “The board was very proactive when I was hired in January of 2019, when we were facing deficit spending, to look at every position. Through attrition and staffing changes, we were able to cut a substantial amount from the budget at that point from that point until now.
“We were also notified a little over a week ago that we would be receiving a little more than $900,000 from the Nexus Pipeline,” added Peters. “Between those two things, it really gave us a boost in our forecast. Our budget today looks very good today, but with the uncertainty to what the pandemic will bring to future budgets, it makes it extremely difficult for Jenell, or any other treasurer, to really know what the future is going to look like.”
The board approved the forecast.
Recognized by Peters and the board were winter sports athletes and teams, including: the Liberty Center Cheer Team that finished as state runner-up that includes Victoria Ellinwood, Bailey Johnson, Meredith Zeiter, Lexi Mohler, Ashlyn Dulle, Claire Atkinson, Ella Rosebrook, Arianna Nonnenmacher, Makayla Mays, Alexa Evans, Kaelyn Gerken, Chelsea Sattler and Calla Oelkrug.
Recognized also were Johnson who finished fifth in the beam at state gymnastics; Zeiter who qualified for state gymnastics; Dylan Matthews, Maguire Vollmar, Ray Culler and Emmett Perry who qualified for state wrestling; and Carter Burdue, who was third-team all-Ohio in basketball.
Concerning projects, Peters gave a brief update about the restroom/concessions project at Rex Lingruen Stadium and the district’s solar array. The project at the stadium is ahead of schedule, despite a few delays, and is expected to be completed in mid-August. The solar array, which is 100% installed, is awaiting for Toledo Edison to finish its work. Peters is hopeful it can be operational by the beginning of June.
In other business, the board:
• offered Cameron VanArsdalen a one-year, 204-day contract as the director of off-campus pupil personnel, effective Aug. 1, 2020-July 31, 2021; Pat Parcher a three-year contract as the mechanic/assistant transportation supervisor, effective Aug. 1, 2020-July 31, 2023.
• accepted the retirement/resignation of Barb Sekula, playground aide, effective June 30.
• voted for Patricia Hyland, school psychologist, at the rate of $80 per hour for 2020-21, on an as-needed basis with no benefits. She will serve students at the Liberty Education Center.
• advanced Brittany Gonzalez, intervention specialist, to the masters +15 column on the negotiated salary schedule, effective at the start of 2020-21.
• approved the transfer of $110,000 from the general fund to the lunchroom fund.
• okayed changes to the administrative petty cash checking account, approving Kristin Bauman, Buenger and Breanna Sharp as the only authorized signers for the account.
• approved the amended job description for payroll specialist/assistant to the treasurer.
• okayed the grades 6-7 trip to Camp Willson from May 10-12, 2021.
• accepted the following donations: $100 from Frost Insurance for senior banners; $46.90 from Box Tops for Education for the elementary principal’s fund; $135 from the Liberty Center Athletic Boosters for hotel rooms for gymnastics; and $1,500 from ConnectGen for Internet access for remote learning.