Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Coldwater district staff await vaccines

By Sydney Albert
COLDWATER - Coldwater Exempted Village Schools officials are awaiting a date for staff members to be inoculated against the coronavirus.
Superintendent Jason Wood said during Tuesday's school board meeting the entire staff will be able to receive the vaccine once the Mercer County Health District sets a date. Bus drivers and classified, certified, administrative and support staff will all reportedly have access to the vaccine, which reportedly will be administered at the school.
Some 80 employees, or roughly 75% of the district's staff, have shown interest in receiving the vaccine, Wood said. Others are still unsure, but may become interested as more information on the vaccine becomes available.
In other business, treasurer Jenn McCoy said property values in the district have risen 7.5%. The district has reached the 20-mill floor due to the valuation change, which is the state-mandated minimum millage rate, meaning homeowners will pay more in taxes as their property values rise.
As part of the board's organizational meeting on Tuesday, member Jack Waite was elected as board president and Jim Miller as vice president. All regular school board meetings will now take place at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month.
School staff must still vote on the upcoming school calendar, but Wood said it likely will remain largely the same, with any discrepancies being the holiday breaks such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Wood also thanked state legislators for passing House Bill 409, which has temporarily changed the requirements for substitute teachers.
Districts have been dealing with a shortage of substitutes before the pandemic, but substitute teachers became even scarcer as COVID-19 spread throughout the country. Many substitutes are retired teachers, and many felt nervous about being exposed to the virus or moving between districts and possibly spreading the virus.
Wood also thanked board members for their service as January is School Board Recognition Month.
Board members also,
• approved increasing the substitute secretary, substitute aide, student worker and bus fueling wage from $8.70 per hour to $8.80 per hour retroactive to Jan. 1 to meet the state minimum wage requirement.
• approved the tax rates and values as presented by the Mercer County auditor.
• approved a board contribution to employees enrolled in a health savings plan for 2021. The contribution will be deposited in each employee's health savings account in the amount of $1,000 for a single plan or $2,000 for a family plan divided over two payments.
• approved an agreement with Community Health Professionals to provide private-duty nursing services for the 2020-2021 school year.
• accepted the following donations: $1,795 from Brain Pop Jr. for grades K-3; $1,000 from Imperial Tent Co. for the choral department; $500 from Performance Physical Therapy for the FIRST Tech Challenge; $87.99 from Phonemic Awareness Curriculum for kindergarten teacher Krista Hoge; $80.66 from various teaching programs for Marilyn Tobe; and $65.72 from various teaching programs for Olivia Wenning.
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