Archbold, OH
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Rare Split Vote At School Board

Downey Questions Policy Changes

The Archbold School Board had a rare split vote at its Monday, April 16 meeting.

John Downey, who was elected to the board in November and took his seat in January, first attempted to stop a vote on policy changes proposed by NEOLA, then was the only member of the board to vote against them.

NEOLA is a service the school board employs to review school district policies and recommend changes to keep them up to date with Ohio law.

The board has used the service for several years, and almost never questions such recommendations.

During school board meetings, board members are asked to approve a “consensus agenda,” which are several issues that are voted on all at once to save time.

After a motion and a second on the consensus agenda, Downey made a motion to remove the policies.

He called for the board to wait until the next meeting, to give board members time to ask questions, receive answers, and reflect on the issues.

Downey’s motion died for lack of a second.

During the discussion on the motion to approve the consensus agenda, Downey asked several technical questions about the proposed policy changes.

Others Involved

He asked if only David Deskins, district superintendent, and a NEOLA representative discussed the policy changes.

No, he was told. Deskins said on a policy change in connection to head lice, he spoke to the school nurse.

Deskins said if a policy chance has a significant impact on school district practices, if it benefits students, or if it changes the way the school operates, he will confer with others.

Tim Meister, high school principal, said he has looked at other school district policies in connection with technology, especially in light of the one-on-one tablet computer programs board members recently approved.

Downey said language in the proposed policy changes drops a requirement that the school superintendent create a written education plan. Does that plan exist, and why was the requirement removed, he asked.

Deskins said the district has both vision and mission statements, and the administrative team sets goals for each school year.

Downey also noted some of the goals the school district was following were set by the school board in 2001.

Jon Lugbill, school board president, agreed the goals needed to be rewritten, but said he was putting off that work because he (Downey) and Bob Aschliman were new to the board.

Lugbill said he would call for a series of work sessions during the summer to develop new goals.

Downey also asked about the evaluation of the school superintendent, asking if there were quality expectations for the superintendent, and about the duties of the school treasurer.

Last Minute

Downey said he received his school board meeting packet on Thursday, didn’t get a chance to review the information until Friday, then had a hectic weekend.

Lugbill said the packets used to be delivered to board members on Saturday before the meeting.

He said it is the responsibility of individual board members to designate time to study the materials.

Downey said he would prefer to have 30 days to study the policy material, rather than 72 hours.

Lugbill said the policy changes were basically grammatical changes based on legislation, law and history. There were no major new policies.

Lugbill said he would not ramrod major changes through in just four days.

When the board voted on the consensus agenda, it approved board meeting minutes and financial reports 4 to 1, with Downey being the lone no vote.

Also approved were the middle school student-parent handbook and distribution of funds from concession stand sales.

Funds Distributed

The board approved the following fund disbursements from high school concession stand sales: after-prom committee, $6,306.47; Class of 2013, $3,709.69; varsity cheerleaders, $3,709.69;

Football parents club, $1,483.97; student council, $1,483.87; Family, Community, and Career Leaders of America, $1,483.86;

Archbold soccer club, $1,112.90; athletic boosters, $1,112.90; vocal music boosters, $1,112.90; high school art club, $741.93; National Honor Society, $741.93.–David Pugh


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