WAUSEON - Fourth-graders who didn't do well on their state reading proficiency test in the fall will be offered help from teachers in a new after-school program at Elm Street Elementary here this month.
Of the 165 pupils who took the test, 57 percent were deemed proficient, 34 percent met only basic requirements, and 8 percent did so poorly that the state of Ohio recommends they not be promoted to the fifth grade.
Those in danger of being held back can take the test next month and again in July. This is the first year that the state is strongly urging schools to retain pupils who do not meet the basic requirements. It is also the first year that children took the reading portion of the test in the fall; in the past proficiency tests covering five subjects have been given in the spring.
Wauseon had the third highest scores of the seven school districts in Fulton County. Archbold pupils did the best on the test with 77 percent reaching the proficient level and 1 percent in danger of being held back. In the Evergreen district, 29 percent of pupils were proficient and 25 percent fell below the basic requirements.
Wauseon Exempted Village school board late last month approved $2,275 for eight, one-hour tutoring sessions on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. The eight fourth-grade teachers hired for the program will be paid $17.78 an hour.
Pupils will not be required to attend the program, but Superintendent Marc Robinson said he expects almost all of the 60 youngsters who are asked to come to do so.
Late last month, the school board unanimously agreed to:
w Increase its pay scale for substitute teachers to $75 a day, up from $70. Mr. Robinson had noticed that pay for substitutes ranged from $60 to $80 a day in Williams, Defiance, Henry, and Fulton counties, according to information from the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center printed in December.
He wanted Wauseon to be among those that pay the most in Fulton County, where the range was $70 to $75.
“Bottom line is substitutes are at a premium and I just want to make sure we are competitive in that market,” he said.
To him, $75 is still not enough - it equals $10 an hour for a 7.5-hour work day. Starting teachers in the district are paid $26,149, which is $145 a day.
The $5 increase likely will cost the district $1,000 to $1,500 a year.
w Purchase a general liability insurance package at a cost of 53 percent more than last year for the same amount of coverage.
The board, like many other school districts in the state, had previously purchased coverage from Nationwide Insurance which decided to stop covering schools, Mr. Robinson said. The board's new policy from the Hartford Co. for Feb. 1 through Jan. 1 cost $13,356, up from $8,751 for the previous year.