Resources – from how current inventory might best be used, to how they might need to be allocated during the “stay-at home” period, to uncertainty over future funding – were front and center at the Olentangy Schools board meeting March 23.
The meeting originally was scheduled for March 26, but was moved up to be in compliance with Gov. Mike DeWine’s “stay-at-home” order related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic that went into effect at 11:59 p.m. March 23.
The board voted during the meeting to donate protective equipment for medical personnel to Ohio Homeland Security and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.
Chief academic officer Jack Fette told board members the donation was primarily gloves and masks and that the district’s nurses were making an inventory of what would be donated.
“These are our local entities and local health care organizations that truly need these supplies,” board member Julie Feasel said.
The board also voted to raise the limit on what administration can spend without board approval while Ohio is in the state of emergency issued by DeWine.
Treasurer Emily Hatfield said the standard amount she is approved to spend without board approval is $50,000.
“This resolution ups the limit to $100,000 for emergency needs during the state of emergency issued by the governor,” Hatfield said. “It provides this authority to myself and the superintendent without the need for additional board approval.”
Hatfield told board members the kinds of purchases that could fall under the resolution would be physical emergencies such as a damaged roof or a boiler that stops working. She said those items still will appear in the check register, which is shared with board members each month and is a public document.
“It’s just because we don’t know when or how or how often we’re going to meet,” she said.
Superintendent Mark Raiff told board members the extended voting period for Ohio’s primary impacts the ability for the district to plan financially.
“We had prepared plans for both positive and negative outcomes” of the district’s three-part tax issue on the ballot, but district leadership is unable to implement either, Raiff said.
He said even if the issue passes in a June 2 election – the date currently set by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose – he expects any result to be contested in the courts.
“We are working on contingency plans for staffing and even for construction,” he said. “It’s the not knowing that’s problematic.”