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Woodridge opposes proposed private school funding

3/28/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Becky Tompkins

The Woodridge Local Schools Board of Education approved a resolution March 19 opposing Ohio House (HB) Bill 59.

According to district officials, the proposed bill would expand the Educational Choice Scholarship Program through which students may receive vouchers to attend private or parochial schools.

Woodridge Superintendent Walter Davis said Gov. John Kasich’s proposed biennial budget would “give public money to private schools in an unprecedented way.”

School board members unanimously approved the resolution opposing HB 59 and “any legislation that seeks to transfer public dollars to support private education.”

Davis announced at the board meeting that for the 12th year in a row, Woodridge finances received a clean audit with “no issues at all.” He commended Treasurer Deanna Levenger and her staff for the feat.

In her monthly financial report, Levenger explained that a group of administrators and teachers have been researching health insurance rates to try to save the district some money.

Because of its small size, Woodridge needs to stay with a consortium, she said. Following the group’s research, she said the best deal turned out to be with the consortium the district already belongs to, the Ohio Mid-Eastern Regional Education Service Agency (OME-RESA).

The board approved a renegotiated contract with the OME-RESA that will save the district $390,000 on its employee medical/dental/prescription insurance in the coming year of the contract, Levenger said.

Based on her recommendation, the board also approved hiring an employee benefits consultant, on an as-needed basis, to help the district stay in compliance with state and federal regulations, analyze insurance costs and evaluate the district’s health plans, among other things.

A consulting agreement with Gallagher Benefit Services (GBS) will begin April 1. Levenger said GBS also will help them deal with all the red tape and complexities of the new federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), which will go into effect in January 2014.

The district could suffer penalties under the ACA if things are not done correctly, she said, adding she believes the money the consultant saves Woodridge will pay for the $12 per employee per month cost.

In other business, board members voted to renew the contracts of Woodridge Middle School Principal Jesse Hosford and Assistant Principal Chris Sieber. Both will have three-year contracts effective Aug. 1.

Davis said Woodridge is “blessed” to have the two men running the middle school and applauded their efforts. He also praised Frank Margida, supervisor of transportation, whose contract also was renewed for one year, effective July 1.

“Mr. Margida has done an exceptional job,” Davis said, “and we’re very fortunate that our transportation department runs very smoothly.”

The next regular meeting is scheduled for April 16 at 6 p.m. in the Woodridge High School Library, 4440 Quick Road.

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