Archbold Schools See Increase In Free, Reduced Lunches
Over the last 10 years, enrollment in the Archbold Area School District is down 151 students, but the number who receive free or reduced price school lunches is up by 157.
That was information David Deskins, district superintendent, provided to members of the school board during its Monday night, Jan. 9 meeting.
The largest increase in free and reduced-price lunches was at the high school, where there was a 236% increase in the number of students who qualified.
Deskins said part of the increase in the free-or-reduced lunch program is the result of better communication between school officials and families, letting them know they may qualify for the program.
But, he added a large part is the lagging local economy that is “causing more families to struggle.”
The only upside of the increase in the number of students receiving free and reduced-price lunches is the district will be eligible for more grant programs.
Among the 23 school districts in the four-county (Fulton, Defiance, Henry, Williams) area served by the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center, Archbold ranks sixth in enrollment decline over the 10-year period.
Williams County school districts had the greatest decline in student enrollment in the four-county area, followed by Fulton County.
Deskins said there are a lot of factors that contributed to the decreased enrollment.
In a written report, he said, “Between company downsizing, closed businesses, and a declining housing market, the district is also experiencing an increase in the number of transient families.
“While we are hopeful that we continue to turn the corner economically, the district continues to work at offering outstanding opportunities for our students in Archbold.”
Deskins also discussed state funding for schools, noting that while state revenues are up, there will probably be no additional money for schools, either in the current state budget or in the next state biennial budget.
However, a house bill that proposed taking additional public school dollars and diverting them to private schools has apparently “lost its momentum,” Deskins said.
Archbold and other public school districts across the state came out in opposition to the bill.
School board members got a chance to try their hands at some of the technology middle and high school students are using in the classroom.
Board members took a quiz using small “netbook” computers; then Ryan Throne, AHS English teacher, demonstrated how he can grade the quizzes efficiently.
The district owns enough netbooks so that in some classrooms, each student canuseone. Deskins said district officials are looking into the possibility of buying enough computers so each student can have his own.
During the board’s organizational meeting, which preceded the regular January meeting, new board members Bob Aschliman and John Downey took the oath of office and their seats on the board.
Board members returned Jon Lugbill to the presidency of the board, and selected Janet Wyse as vice president.
Downey was named the Ohio School Boards Association legislative liaison for 2012. Wyse was appointed student achievement liaison.
The board also approved several routine housekeeping matters, including allowing Christine Ziegler, district treasurer, to pay bills “in a timely manner,” and allowing Deskins to employ temporary personnel (such as substitute teachers and classified workers) as needed.
The next meeting is Monday, Feb. 27, 7 pm, in the AHS media center.– David Pugh