Tuesday, January 12th, 2021
Free meals to continue
By Leslie Gartrell
ST. HENRY - School board members learned at Monday's meeting that students will continue to receive free meals through the end of the school year.
The Seamless Summer Option was extended beyond its Dec. 31 deadline, superintendent Julie Garke said after the meeting.
The federal meal program provides meals in low-income areas during traditional summer vacation periods.
The program was first extended in September to offer free breakfasts and lunches for all students. The extension is possible through U.S. Department of Agriculture funding. Garke noted local tax money is not being used.
In a separate matter, Garke thanked board members as part of school board appreciation month.
"The St. Henry Local School children benefit every day from the dedication and commitment to public education of our school board members," Garke wrote in a statement.
In other business, board members approved a resolution accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the budget commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the county auditor.
District treasurer Jennifer Bruns said the district's valuation had increased by $9.5 million in the 2020 triennial update - a historically large increase. The district's emergency levy, which is a fixed sum levy, was reduced by 0.3 mills. As appraisal values increase, the millage on the levy decreases to keep the fixed sum and the taxpayer's payment the same. The 6.8-mill, five-year levy was renewed in 2019 and collects $1.1 million per year. It costs the owner of a $100,000 home $214 a year.
In addition, board members approved a resolution to expand employment of substitute teachers consistent with Ohio House Bill 409. The bill authorizes districts to hire substitute teachers who do not have a post-secondary degree, which is otherwise required. Substitutes can be hired without a bachelor's degree so long as they satisfy other requirements, such as a criminal background check, and have evidence of a non-renewable temporary substitute teaching license issued by the Ohio Department of Education.
The resolution is temporary, running through June 30. Garke said the district has an agreement with the Mercer County Educational Service Center for substitutes.
Board members also elected Andy Fullenkamp as president and Paul Moorman as vice president.