Paving costs questioned

EAST LIVERPOOL – After voting Monday night for a recommendation to hire a North Lima company to do paving work near Patterson Field, the board began to question the quote given.

With members Scott Dieringer and Richard Wolf absent, the remaining three members approved the recommendation by Treasurer Todd Puster to hire R.T. Vernal for paving rehabilitation to remediate recent flood damage to the driveway near the stadium.

The quote approved was for $24,950, which is $50 under the maximum allowed to be spent by a public body without advertising for bids, but after the vote, President Janice Martin pointed out the paperwork from the company indicated a price of $34,750 for a “couple things that were added.”

Board member Bob Estell pointed out the board had voted for the $24,950 figure, prompting Superintendent James Herring to say, “They added a couple things; I’ll check that out.”

Puster said he has learned from city Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell that the city was not declared a flood disaster area following the flooding and said the district’s flood insurance is limited to damage to buildings and contents, not infrastructure, such as the driveway.

“So, guess who gets to pay (the $24,950)?” Puster asked rhetorically.

The blacktop in the driveway actually buckled from the flood waters, he noted after the meeting.

The board also decided to table a recommendation from Herring to contract with the county Educational Service Center (ESC) for $198,321 after Martin again posed some questions about the cost and services to be rendered.

She pointed out $70,000 of the total is for “supervisory” services, noting, “That’s like having two superintendents.”

Another $46,000 of the cost would be for opportunity school and $2,000 for alternative school, with Martin saying it seems that would be duplication of services.

The remainder, $64,000 for an interpreter and $1,000 for preschool itinerant, was not questioned, but the matter was tabled until Herring can provide more detailed information at the next meeting.

A five-year contract with Cintas for supplies such as mats and dust mops was approved.

In financial matters, Puster offered an update on the state budget, saying school districts are “still figuring out” what is contained in the 4,000-page document.

The good news boiled down to an additional $1 million annually over two years, some additional funding for K-3 literary programs, school safety and GED programs, while Puster had concerns about continued expansion of the School Choice program, special education funding and additional mandates and snares in how districts spend their funding.

“There are a lot of mandates we’re wading through,” Puster said, also saying some provisions may have escaped the attention of the general public, such as three major tax policy changes.

State income tax rates will be reduced, while state sales tax will increase to 5.75 percent and the state Homestead Rollback reimbursements will be eliminated for new tax levies, Puster reported.

Other educational policy changes that worry Puster are having to open up extra-curricular activities to non-students, limiting joint vocational school board membership to employers in the community rather than school district board members and having to conduct three enrollment counts per year, which he said he does not think the state is up to counting due to students going to charter schools and others.

The board also approved a contract with the city police department for the use of school resource officers, primarily assigned to the junior/senior high school, at a cost of $25 per hour.

Herring noted funding was left over from last year’s program and when it is depleted, the board will have to decide if it wants to continue funding the resource officers from other funds.

In personnel matters, the board approved:

– Nathan Conley as an intervention specialist at the junior/senior high school at a $31,104 salary.

– Tim Diddle as the new swimming coach at a $2,525 salary. He had been a volunteer swim coach.

– Joshua Reed as reserve boys basketball coach and assistant varsity girls soccer coach at salaries of $2,457 and $1,770, respectively.

– Rebecca Jordan as assistant varsity volleyball coach at a $1,770 salary.

– Bus routes for the coming school year.