The Press Newspaper
The Eastwood School District’s allocation of stimulus money is being used to help meet the costs of special education services and not for bonuses for administrators, Brent Welker, district superintendent, said.
He said a school board member received a phone call from a district resident who asked if administrators were paid bonuses through stimulus funding.
“You never know how some rumors get started,” Welker said. “This one is false and I felt the need to address it because as we head to the ballot in May to renew an existing levy, we do not want falsehoods and misstatements to hurt those efforts.”
The district has received about $350,000 in Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part-B stimulus funding.
The funding is meant for assisting children with disabilities through special education and related services.
Eastwood has until September, 2011 to spend its share, Welker said, adding that the district can use half of its funds to cover costs of special education services not covered by current state and federal revenues.
Falling local revenues and doubts that reimbursements from the state will be sufficient to meet the costs of required programs and services prompted the Ottawa County commissioners to approve an emergency resolution that raises the sales/use tax by 0.25 percent.
With the increase, the total tax rate will be 6.75 percent, with the county share at 1.25 percent and the state portion at 5.5 percent.
The 0.25 percent increase will be in effect for three years and then automatically end, said commissioner Steve Arndt.
“State funding for many services has been dropping,” he said. “Unfortunately we are the delivery point for those services and it really puts a bind on us. We’re at the point it’s going to reach core services.”
Commissioners have cut the county’s operating budget by about $2.6 million over the past two years, he said, and the state is about six months in arrears in reimbursements to the county for service programs.
County officials said they expect the increase to go into effect in July. State law mandates a delay in the start of collections to allow for possible referendum challenges to an increase.
Genoa officers claim hostile work environment
The Ottawa County sheriff is recommending Genoa village officials hire a special investigator immediately to look into allegations of a hostile work environment leveled by three village police officers against Chief Randy Hill.
The officers – Sgt. Todd Mocniak, Kevin Miller, and Mike Woods - recently gave several pages of written complaints and issues regarding Chief Hill to councilman Eric Hise.
The councilman then asked Sheriff Robert Bratton for his opinion on the seriousness of the complaints, Bratton said.
“They need a special investigator to review all their issues to be fair,” Bratton said after turning over his response to Hise on March 3. “They need to act immediately. We don’t know what the chief’s response will be to this.”
Chief Hill said he hasn’t seen the documents and declined to comment.
Sheriff Bratton emphasized he is not stating a hostile environment exists in the village department. However, once “these words are used,” action needs to be taken quickly, the sheriff said.
“There needs to be an investigation immediately conducted to find out the validity and if there is or is not this type of situation,” Bratton wrote in his response.
A hearing to decide if the Ottawa County Humane Society unlawfully seized dehydrated and malnourished horses from a Carroll Township farm is scheduled for March 18 in Ottawa County Municipal Court.
Robin Vess, who has pled not guilty to charges of animal cruelty, filed a motion to suppress with the court, claiming the Humane Society entered the property without a search warrant and violated her Fourth Amendment rights as well as the Ohio Constitution.
“…The humane society…entered onto the property of the defendant, into a closed barn which is attached to the residence, without a warrant, and unlawfully seized approximately 40 horses,” the motion states. “Since the plaintiff entered without a warrant, the seizure of evidence was unlawful and cannot be used against the defendant. As such, the law requires suppression of all such evidence.”
Vess is represented by Toledo attorney Mark Davis. To support Vess’s contention, the motion cites federal as well as state cases.
“The Ohio Supreme Court has been particularly protective of a homeowner’s right to be free from unlawful seizure,” the motion says.
A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that children ages 8-18 spend 53 hours a week using entertainment media, or about 7½ hours per day. The same study found that only 30 percent of students have time limits for television, computer, or video games.
Acronyms and abbreviations have become their language, and while many parents have caught onto the technology and language, others have not. Many of these school-aged children have no idea what kind of trouble they can get into.
This school year, speakers from Oregon City Schools, the Oregon police department, and the Lucas County prosecutor’s office gave a presentation to Clay High School in which students were broken up into groups to discuss sexting, social networking, and the threat of sexual predators on the internet. Two other presentations last spring and fall were to students at Eisenhower Middle School.
“When I talked to the kids I asked how many have cell phones and I thought I was going to get laughed at,” Oregon Schools technology director Nathan Quigg said. “Ninety-eight percent of them raised their hands and when I asked who doesn’t have them, a handful said they don’t.”
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