Board tables decision on Lincoln building

The Tiffin City Board of Education moved to table a decision to reopen the Lincoln Elementary building during the board’s meeting Tuesday night.

The board is to meet in special session at 7 p.m. March 11 at Tiffin Middle School cafetorium to discuss reopening the building. The board and community members expressed concerns during the meeting.

Superintendent Vicki Wheatley presented the projected cost savings of opening a preschool in the district. Wheatley presented a projected savings for the district at $295,185.21. She said the savings is padded due to the projected teacher health care and benefits.

The board approved tabling the decision by a 3-2 vote. Board Vice President Roland Zimmerman voted against holding off on the decision due to the the projected cost savings to the district and the previous academic record of the district. Zimmerman said Tiffin is ranked fifth out of 24 surrounding schools, and on the Ohio State Report Card, Tiffin met 25 out of 26 of the state standards.

Board President Shirley Smith also voted against delaying the issue of reopening the building. Smith said she ensures the education and care of the children would be taken care of.

“I stand firm that we have excellent administration and staff,” she said. “We have cut costs and we are looking at ways to do it better. We do not take these issues or making decisions lightly.”

“When I was hired on, I had a commitment to provide the best possible education, ensure the safety of the students and to remain fiscally responsible,” Wheatley said.

Brandon Amory, a parent with a student at Family Learning Center, expressed his concerns. Amory said that with a meeting between representatives from Family Learning Center and Tiffin City Schools, the Tiffin representatives weren’t able to answer about 90 percent of the questions asked which pertained to care in detail.

“With the transition, I felt that there was no concern and that my child was in capable hands with the FLC; with Tiffin, I have concerns,” Amory said.

Heather Holben, a teacher at FLC, said she was concerned with how the decisions were being handled.

One concern a community member had was about the cost of equipment to house a special education preschool. Wheatley said the projected cost was $15,000-$18,000 per classroom.

Board member Randy Schwartz voted for tabling the decision.

“There are many public concerns and we have to look into the matters that are being addressed,” Schwartz said. “I feel that more information would be helpful. This is a worthwhile project and, even if the projected savings are in or around the ballpark, they shouldn’t be ignored.”

Community member Josh Thacker’s concern was of the quality of teachers.

Scott Daniel, director of operations, said Richland County Building Codes & Inspections is to inspect the building in the next few weeks to inform the district what the building needs.

Daniel also presented the board an update on the Frost-Kalnow Stadium Project. Four bids have been received for replacing the turf and lighting, he said. The architect for the project, MKC Associates Inc., is to look and evaluate the bids.

The board entered into executive session to prepare for negotiations with public employees and to discuss the employment of public employees. No action was taken.

The next meeting is to be at 7 p.m. March 25 at the Tiffin Middle School cafetorium.

In other news, the board:

Heard committee reports.

Heard director of instruction and personnel reports.

Approved employment.

Accepted donations.

Approved a services agreement with the Ohio School Board Association.

Approved an addendum to the 2013-14 agreement with the Seneca County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Approved an agreement with Northwest Ohio Area Computer Services Cooperative for Internet services.

Approved a subscription with Renaissance Learning Inc.

Approved a contract with Lind Media Co. for outdoor advertising.

Approved the district calendar for the 2014-15 school year.

Approved a contract with Catapult K12 for website hosting for Tiffin City School District at a cost of $5,588. The first contract year is to cost the district $7,615.20 and the second year is to cost $5,027.20.

Designated treasurer to attend certified public records training.

Approved Aaron Kapelka as Tiffin Middle School assistant boys and girls track coach, and Chris Sauber and Kevin Weber as volunteers for the baseball team.