AC-WH board approves 2022 plan

AC-WH board approves 2022 plan

The Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center Board of Education has approved permanent appropriations for fiscal year 2022 totaling $10.8 million. The spending plan that was presented at the board’s regular meeting on Sept. 17 included $6.4 million in the general fund, $585,000 in the permanent improvement fund, $115,000 for food service, $1.2 million for self insurance and just over $1 million for adult education.

Treasurer Julie Smith said the general fund appropriations are the same as they were in fiscal year 2021 because employee negotiations have not been completed and salaries and benefits are part of the budget. “Once we have a resolution, we’ll come back with those figures at that time,” she said.

Smith said the food service fund is up $5,000. The school also received an additional $190,000 in CARES Act funds for adult education.

During the public comment period prior to the vote on appropriations, Ashland Vocational Teachers’ Association President Julie Subler addressed the board on current contract negotiations. Subler said association members have been without a contract since classes began this school year and are looking for what she called a “fair resolution.”

Subler said the main sticking point during the first round of mediation the previous day was a request by the board’s negotiating team for teachers to pay for a larger share of their health insurance premium. She said the request comes at a time when the career center has the fourth highest days of operating cash of any vocational school in Ohio and state and federal legislators have increased funding for education.

Career center officials had no comment except for Tina Zickefoose, board president. She said the two groups are still in formal negotiations.

During associate school reports, Tri-County Educational Service Center board member Forrest Chanay said area efforts to come up with “the final word” on mass vaccinations and other COVID-19 issues for local schools have not been successful. He said the problem is Tri-County is dealing with 16 school districts in three counties and each county has its own health board.

“Each has its own role or preferences and issues, and each one of them doesn’t need the burden of that much more from two other counties,” Chanay said. “Each county is working on the problems with their schools within their boundaries.”

Fellow Tri-County representative Jim Barger said, “There’s very little cohesion among districts. Everybody is on their own, and they are hardly willing to take advice from the health boards in their counties, so it’s going to be an interesting start to the year.”

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