MOUNT VERNON — State budget woes and pending legislation were two of the topics discussed at Wednesday’s meeting of the governing board of the Knox County Educational Service Center.
Board president Richard McLarnan said schools will see a reduction in state foundation funding to schools. The anticipated decrease ranges from 10 percent to 20 percent, he said, and it is likely that different school districts will experience varying degrees of cuts.
The board also talked about the collective bargaining reform bill, SB 5, the school funding bill, a bill mandating performance audits of most state agencies, and HB 36, school calamity days.
As an aside, McLarnan said it was interesting that, given the concern about school finances all over the state, the salary of the school “czar” recently appointed by Gov. John Kasich is substantially higher than that of the previous person in the position of director of the Office of 21st Century Education.
Superintendent Timm Mackley reported a recent study by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice attempts to debunk arguments in favor of school district consolidation to save money. The report says administrative mergers could actually cost taxpayers more money while harming student performance.
During the business portion of the meeting, the board, in addition to approving routine fiscal actions, accepted the following donations for the visiting young author program: $1,000 from Danville Local Schools; $350 from Centerburg Local Schools; and $650 from the Centerburg Elementary PTO. The board also accepted an audiometer from Dr. Robert and Fran Rodstrom as well as a $500 donation from the Mount Vernon Rotary Club for the Knox County Spelling Bee. Treasurer Heather Darnold reported the ESC’s Alternative Center Challenge Grant has been increased by $4,563 and a $1,000 Ohio SchoolNet Connectivity Grant will be used for Internet line fees.
Other actions taken by the board included the employment of Marge Rhoades as an external evaluator of the ESC preschool program, a position required by the Ohio Department of Education. It also added to both the substitute teacher and substitute aide lists and adopted a number of new or revised policies in order to comply with changes in state and federal regulations.
Prior to adjournment, the board changed its April meeting date, time and location. The meeting will be held on April 20 at the Red Fox Inn in Danville. The all-day session will begin with breakfast at 8:30 a.m.