BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Three Maumee schools will receive funding as part of a multi-million-dollar initiative for safety and security upgrades in Ohio schools.
More than 700 Ohio schools received a total of $57.8 million to support security issues that need to be addressed, and all three of Maumee’s elementary schools – Fort Miami, Wayne Trail and Fairfield – made the list.
“Of the three elementary schools, two are older construction – Fairfield and Wayne Trail – and of course Fort Miami is a newer construction, so their needs were slightly different,” said Maumee City Schools interim Assistant Superintendent Matt Dick.
To determine the needs of each building, Dick said the district gathered expertise from MCS buildings and grounds supervisor of facilities Larry Burda, director of technology Jason Dugan and the school resource officers.
“We had to do a safety assessment on each building. After we did that, there is a list of approved categories that you can kind of select from your assessment that you found could benefit from an upgrade,” Dick said.
Based on the assessment findings, the district applied for and received the maximum allowable grant amount per building, which was $100,000.
Maumee’s three elementary schools will each receive the $100,000 in funding soon, allowing for the upgrades to begin.
“We can use the money relatively soon, so we are starting to get quotes based on those subject areas that we chose,” Dick said. “We would like to get our improvements going as soon as possible.”
The upgrades that will be made to each school would happen regardless of the grants, but the money from the state makes it easier to get the jobs done faster, Dick said.
“It’s all stuff that we would do, but it’s nice that the state is prioritizing it so we can do more in a better timeline,” Dick said.
When identifying safety measures that could use enhancement, Dick said the group looked at the physical and technical security of the schools.
The older buildings, he said, could use upgrades to the doors, while all of the schools would benefit from additional video cameras and the upgrades needed to the image server to support the additional footage being recorded.
Two-way radios and additional secure access points on exterior doors for staff will allow the staff and local law enforcement better communication and access during an emergency situation, Dick said.
“Technology and infrastructure, they age over time, and when they age, they could stand to be replaced, and these kinds of opportunities allow us to do that,” he explained.
Hundreds of other schools across the state will have the same opportunity to increase safety measures, too.
A statement issued by Gov. Mike DeWine’s office said the state was being proactive in keeping the schools safe for students and staff and that the grants would allow for a welcoming environment for everyone.
This was the third round of grants awarded via the Ohio K-12 School Safety Grant Program. The grant is administered by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission and is in partnership with the Ohio School Safety Center. According to the safety center’s website, funding has been allocated from the state’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, authorized by the federal government in 2021.
Dick said it was important the district take advantage of the opportunity provided by the grant and put it to good use.
“Obviously, our primary focus in the school district is education, but you can’t provide an education if you don’t have an environment that will safely secure your staff and students,” Dick said. “Upgrading safety just creates an environment where the staff can be most effective at doing what they need to do.”
Maumee School Board Approves Five-Year Forecast
BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — The Maumee City Schools Board of Education is looking at future finances.
At the November 28 meeting, board members heard from treasurer Paul Brotzki, who recommended the board adopt the five-year forecast that was presented, which the board did.
For fiscal year 2022, the district’s total revenue and other financing sources is $33,255,810; the total of expenditures and other outgoing finances is $30,953,283; and the excess of revenues is $2,302,522.
Brotzki explained that the forecast attempts to align the current district plan and goals with the corresponding expenditures. Various expenditures, such as supplies and materials, are increased based on current plans like new curriculum purchases that have been approved by the board and administration, he said.
“To account for some possible unplanned expenses, a 2-percent inflationary factor is applied across all categories,” Brotzki said.
Some items, however, could still change by the end of the year.
Board member Matt Bush inquired about additional funds that could fall under the general property tax revenue in the future. The district must still wait on the final valuations from the county auditor on certain properties to see if the school will receive a higher amount in tax revenue from the businesses.
Brotzki explained that he prefers to wait until a property is added to the tax duplicate by the auditor before adding it to the revenue projection as an estimated guess could negatively affect the forecast if it is wrong.
“(In) my correspondence with the auditor’s office, they have not confirmed one way or the other how much of that valuation has been picked up and if it’s a nonprofit or for-profit corporation,” Brotzki said.
A business may submit an application to the Department of Taxation to determine if it is eligible for tax exemption, and county auditors appraise buildings under construction to determine the appropriate property taxes. Brotzki said he hopes for more finalized numbers at the end of December.
“The five-year forecast as proposed, as far as we know, is accurate,” Brotzki said.
The forecast includes projected increases regard-ing dental and health insurance among other anticipated changes to revenue and expenditures.
Also on the recommendation of Brotzki, the board amended final appropriations to reflect current fiscal year-to-date information for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Additionally, interim Assistant Superintendent Matt Dick told the board that he had just recently learned that several Maumee schools were provided safety grants through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission in partnership with the Ohio School Safety Center. The grants will provide schools with funding to make safety changes needed in each school.
“I put in for $100,000 for each of our five school buildings. Three were granted – Fairfield, Fort Miami and Wayne Trail – $100,000 each for safety and security upgrades,” Dick said.
During the meeting, the board also:
• Heard from interim Superintendent Steve Lee, who said the district had a successful family night and the high school’s production of Clue drew a great turnout.
Lee also reminded the board of the 10h annual Secret Santa project made possible by an anonymous couple who provides 100 of the district’s students with an average of seven presents each. MHS students helped wrap the presents after school.
He also encouraged board members and administrative staff to attend the alumni dinner and court dedication for former Maumee basketball coach Jim Robinson Sr.
• Heard from interim Assistant Superintendent Matt Dick, who thanked the transportation department and administrative team for their part in the Holiday Light Parade.
• Adopted the complimentary pass resolution that allows complimentary passes or waives the fee to athletic contests and performing and visual arts events for full- and part-time employees, board of education members, Golden Panther cardholders and more.
• Held a second reading and adoption of several policies, which can be found on the board of education’s website.
• Authorized renovations to Maumee High School’s family and consumer science classroom to be bid at an estimated cost of $248,000. Dick said there are two rooms used for instruction and lab work that will be merged into one larger classroom with a half-wall.
• Accepted a donation of 40 one-year family memberships to the Toledo Zoo for MCS families via the zoo’s partnership with Savage and Associates.
• Approved operational hires, substitutes and student teachers.
• Went into executive session to discuss the possible employment of a public employee or official.