Center students to stay in program

Opportunity Center Superintendent Lew Hurst relayed to the Board of Developmental Disabilities that Tiffin City Schools are not taking any of the children in the Opportunity Center program to place them in the Lincoln Elementary program. The Opportunity Center serves birth to 3-year-olds and Tiffin City Schools has been discussing moving 4- to 5-year-olds from the Family Learning Center.

Hurst presented proclamations from Gov. John Kasich, Seneca County commissioners, Tiffin and Fostoria recognizing Developmental Disabilities Month.

Hurst circulated an article appearing in the Columbus Dispatch about waiting lists for those seeking services and the effect on their families. He said the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council is pushing to have the state allocate additional funding to help reduce waivers.

Focus groups addressing early intervention, educational services, residential services, adult services, community services and county board operational services were chosen for board members to participate in the strategic planning process. The board is to set priorities after groups have made recommendations.

Cynthia Morrison presented a sample size of the billboards around town marking March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The billboard features the family of Caleb Kelbley.

The annual craft show at the Opportunity Center is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. The Unity Spaghetti Dinner and Dance is March 21 followed by the Celebrity Basketball game at Seiberling Gymnasium March 27. The center has been conducting a food drive all month, and items are to be donated to local food banks.

Morrison also said STIRS, the Steps Toward Independence and Responsibility program, again is to conduct self-advocacy classes on bullying and teaching tools for life in the public schools.

Adult Services Director Rod Biggert said Re-ads has been able to meet Roppe Corp.’s production level demand even with calamity days.

He said the Bistro and Coffee Shop at Mercy Tiffin Hospital has received great feedback from hospital employees and the clients offered community employment. Hours for the shop are 6 a.m.-4 p.m.

Biggert said 15 counselors are embedded across the state with workshop programs to assist individuals in finding community employment. He said they have found few clients in Seneca County as employment is offered through the Opportunity Center program.

Children’s Services Director Rick Gagnon stated he is awaiting a clarification on the school hours in school starting next year instead of number of days in school as the regulation is now. He has also applied for a request for funds proposal grant for the Help Me Grow program.

Transportation Director Ron Davidson is accepting bids for a 15-passenger van to be opened Tuesday. He reported collaborating with SCAT for training.

Human Resources Director Janet Vay said there are many substitute positions open in several areas. She said changes to the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System which affects several staff members that will probably be retiring before Nov. 30.

Business Manager Dick Williams said the managers’ organization meets March 19 with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities to receive cost report training.

Completing his term as president, Williams still would like to institute a mentoring program for new business managers. They are looking at the regional representatives developing a relationship with new managers and experienced managers declaring an expertise for consultation.

Board member Sandy Hallett announced an autism symposium May 3 at the Educational Service Center for Early Intervention age elementary through high school and into adulthood. Five counties are involved to discuss educational needs.

In other matters, the board:

Heard the ethics council approved two supported living contracts with no changes.

Approved the final budget for 2014.

  • Reviewed 28 policies with eight revisions and creation of a new policy regarding the sexuality education program.

The board is to meet at 5 p.m. April 8 at the Fostoria Re-ads facility.