FREDERICKTOWN — During a regular meeting Tuesday, the Fredericktown school board heard some details regarding the new student wellness and success funds the district will be receiving from the state.
The most recent biennial budget did not increase general funding for most school districts, including Fredericktown, but did provide each Ohio school district with funds to be used for student wellness purposes.
Treasurer Heather Darnold told the board that the district will be receiving approximately $267,000 in wellness and success funding over the next two fiscal years.
Because state education funding is reworked with every biennial budget, the district is only guaranteed wellness and success funding through fiscal year 2021.
“I believe it’s going to be wonderful to help our students and our district,” said Darnold. “What’s going to be the difficult part is in fiscal 2022 those funds go away. There’s been no talk on how we’ll continue this directive we’ve been given without those funds.”
According to Darnold, the district will likely use the funds to help offset the cost of salaries and benefits for the school nurse, psychologists and social workers. The money may also be used for professional development and workshop opportunities for those employees, who can use that knowledge to train teachers on how to better help children struggling with social emotional issues or traumatic backgrounds.
Boardmember Patty Miller suggested that some of the funds be used to educate students on the health dangers of vaping.
“I’m concerned. Too many of our kids are suffering,” she said. “They’re literally drowning, in addition to all the poison they’re putting in their bodies.”
Darnold also stated that the district will have to submit a report to the Ohio Department of Education detailing how it will work with an outside organization to use the funds. At the end of the school year, schools will have to submit another report on how the money was used and how it benefited students.
Incoming superintendent Susan Hayward praised administrators, teachers and staff for a great start to the school year during her first official board report.
“I believe this is the smoothest start I’ve ever seen to a school year,” she said.
Hayward noted that there will be a two-hour delay on Sept. 18 for staff training.
During her legislative update, Miller told the board that a re-worked version of the Cupp-Patterson bill has been introduced in the Ohio General Assembly as House Bill 305. The bill seeks to remedy Ohio’s school funding disparity, which has yet to be fixed since the funding formula was ruled unconstitutional in the 1990s.
“They’ve made some positive changes but it’s not enough,” said Miller. “Who’s going to get hurt if this goes through as written will be small towns and rural districts.”
The board also discussed the annual school report cards issued by the Ohio Department of Education. The report cards will be made public this week, but have already been made available to school administrators.
Hayward said that the district will begin looking at the report cards and setting goals for improvement soon.
Miller cautioned the public to take the report cards with a grain of salt.
“That is just a snapshot,” she said. “It doesn’t begin to tell the tale of what we’re doing well. That report card doesn’t make Fredericktown. The heart of who we are makes Fredericktown.”
The board met in executive session to discuss personnel and items to be kept confidential. No action was taken.
The board also:
•Accepted an anonymous donation of $250 to the athletic department, an anonymous donation of $7,000 for unpaid lunch fees and $600 from Kim and Sheila Horlacher to the senior class.
•Approved a $4,500 Vo-Ag 5th quarter grant from the state. It is the 11th year Fredericktown has received the grant.
•Approved routine destruction of outdated records.
•Authorized the FFA field trip to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis from Oct. 30 – Nov. 2.
•Approved free and reduced lunch prices of $.30 for breakfast and $.40 for lunch. Prices are set by the federal government.
•Approved various substitutes, student teachers and classroom volunteers.