The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, May. 25, 2024

Board hears about safety, state, Eggerss

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

The safety of students and staff is a top priority in the Van Wert City Schools district. That was the message delivered during Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Bill Clifton said over 50 school districts throughout Ohio went into lockdown mode last Friday, due to a threatening robocall. Van Wert City Schools wasn’t among them.

“Unfortunately, I think we’re going to see more of those scenarios,” Clifton said. “One of those districts, east of Columbus, that information went out over the scanner and the citizens of that school district converged on their schools armed and ready to fight that situation. I think it’s important that we continue to emphasize to our community that we continue say and believe that safety is our No. 1 priority and I hope everybody supports that.

Assistant Superindent Bill Clifton discusses safety during Wednesday’s school board meeting. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

“We are all about safety but we cannot prepare for every scenario, but it’s at the top of our agenda and it’s definitely in our thoughts daily to take care of our kids,” he continued. “We’re concerned about our staff as well. I feel real good with what we’re doing.”

Law enforcement officers were summoned to Van Wert Middle School September 14, after an alleged threat of violence. The matter was investigated but no arrests were made.

Clifton added the Van Wert Police Department has access to buildings via key fobs and he said the Sheriff’s Office has requested key fobs as well, and he believes the Van Wert Post of the Ohio State Highway will make a similar request. He also said he’s meeting with Van Wert Police Chief Doug Weigle today.

“I’m really impressed with Chief Weigle and his efforts to work cooperatively with us in these matters.

He added each building in the district has a threat assessment team, and some are working on completing training. He also said the district is working on completing bus evacuation drills.

During his report to the board, Superintendent Mark Bagley said all has been quite on the fair school funding front.

“It’s been crickets from the state,” he stated. “We don’t have a lot of guidance right now and that’s very frustrating for public schools that put a lot of time and energy into making sure kids learn. That’s a battle cry that I’ll keep on fighting. Our different associations out there right now are even looking having lobbyists – paid lobbyists – to help get the word out about public education and how important it is for our dollars to stay with our kids.”

Bagley also thanked Van Wert City Council for seeking bids to do sewer work under Eggerss Stadium ahead of the planned renovation project, and he said the number of companies under consideration to install artificial turf next year has been narrowed from six to two.

On the topic of health insurance, Bagley said school employees will pay two percent more for medical insurance.

The board heard a presentation from Bagley and Chris Covey, Director of Curriculum, on the latest state school report cards. Check Friday’s News page for more details.

Treasurer Michelle Mawer informed the board that the cost of paper has risen 57 percent over the course of a year.

Athletic Council representative Julie Burenga told fellow board members that athletic director Trent Temple is looking into adding girls wrestling to Van Wert’s lineup of sports teams.

Board members approved a number of supplemental coaching contracts, including Greg Steinecker, softball; Brandon Amstutz, boys tennis; Charlie Witten, baseball; Brandon Miller, volunteer varsity boys basketball assistant; Damian Helm, junior varsity boys basketball; Sam Boehnlein, high school assistant boys basketball; Tom Baer, eighth grade boys basketball; Nate Hoverman, seventh grade boys basketball; Harry Florence, girls basketball varsity assistant; Kelsey Wertz, girls junior varsity basketball; Eli Alvarez, eighth grade girls basketball; Sierra Shaffer, seventh grade girls basketball; Abby Jackson middle school girls basketball volunteer; Stan Bladen, assistant girls/boys bowling; Nick Pauff, Austin McIntosh, Colten Royer, Terrin Contreras, half-time assistant varsity coaches; Brad Allmandinger, Chris Health, middle school wrestling; Jacob Durden and Ben Collins, high school volunteer wrestling coaches, and Keith Rydell and Bethany Fast, assistant swimming coaches.

Haley Michaud was approved as marketing and public relations specialist through the end of the current school year.

The board also approved:

  • A professional service agreement with Therapy Services LLC for physical therapy services.
  • A continued agreement with New Tech Network.
  • A Community Reinvestment Area Agreement between Van Wert and
    Ohio Stor N Lock Van Wert LLC.
  • A request form the City of Van Wert to extend the existing airport CRA boundaries.
  • An amended tax abatement/enterprise zone agreement for Alliance Automation LLC.

The board also accepted a lengthy list of donations from local businesses and individuals.

The next meeting of the Van Wert City Schools Board of Education will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday, October 26, in the First Federal Lecture Hall at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.

POSTED: 09/29/22 at 3:41 am. FILED UNDER: News