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Published: Tuesday, 5/26/2009

Maumee child-care program in old school

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Beginning this fall, children's voices will again be heard at Maumee's former Fort Miami Elementary School.

The school on Askin Street just off River Road was converted into the district's administration building in April, 2008, but the school board agreed last week to lease the former cafeteria and gymnasium to the YMCA for its before and after-school child care program.

The move will consolidate the child care centers now located at the district's four elementary schools, said Sarah Otis, vice president of child development for the YMCA/JCC of Greater Toledo.

"This allows us to create a whole new program where [children] can stay for the whole day. They can also stay for vacation weeks when parents have to work and through the summer," Ms. Otis said. "We're real excited to bring it under roof."

Superintendent Greg Smith said the Y will be paying rent, although the amount has not been settled. Before the school board delved into its agenda last week, more than a dozen parents, teachers, and other district residents asked the board to reconsider the staff cuts made in April because voters approved a new 3.9-mill continuing levy on May 5.

The pleas were particularly loud for high school librarian Cynthia Bramson, who has 30 years' experience, and Jane Pozniak, who has been a family and consumer science teacher for 27 years.

Veronica Burgert, an '01 Maumee graduate and daughter of Ms. Bramson, said she received an excellent education at Maumee and did not want to think of students going through the high school without a librarian to help them learn how to research topics or a teacher like Ms. Pozniak, whose career options class helped her immensely.

Jennifer Bayer, who also teaches family and consumer science, said the cuts eliminated two recent winners of the Golden Apple Award of Excellence from the Maumee Chamber of Commerce.

"In times of financial difficulty, these are the kinds of teachers you need," she said. " If these two people are eliminated, by what standards are we measured worthy of anything?"

Board President Bob Righi said no decisions on restoring personnel would be made at least until June.

"The board of education didn't want to cut a single teacher. We didn't want to cut a single program," he said. "I know that in the last four years we've asked our teachers to do more with less . But we can only do what we can afford."

While the new tax levy was expected to generate close to $2 million a year, District Treasurer Paul Brotzki told the board the latest information from the Lucas County Auditor's Office indicates that because of reduced property valuations, the new 3.9-mill continuing levy may generate about $1.8 million a year - about $172,000 less than first expected. That number still is subject to change, he added.

Anne Cross, the outgoing president of the Maumee Education Association, asked the board to carefully consider expenditures for nonpersonnel items during this financially difficult time. She pointed to a three-year contract on the board agenda for a GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) conversion with the accounting firm of Julian and Grube as an example.

Later in the meeting, the board discussed the $13,900 a year contract at length. Board member Sylvia Washburn questioned whether Mr. Brotzki could do the work now done by Julian and Grube.

Mr. Brotzki responded that some school districts do their own GAAP conversion but that he was not trained to do so. School districts, he explained, are required to operate all year on a cash basis but at the end of the fiscal year must convert their books to GAAP standards.

"I understand your concern, however because Mr. Brotzki doesn't have the training, I don't think it's as cost-effective as I'd like it to be," said board member Stephanie Piechowiak.

The board ultimately voted 5-0 in favor of the contract with Julian and Grube.

The board also accepted a bid of $96,950 from Quality Roofing to replace the roof on the Maumee High School gymnasium.

Board member Glenn Rambo said the project was initially estimated at $260,000, but the price came in much lower when it was determined that the entire roof did not need to be torn off before a new rubber roof was installed.



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