COLUMBUS GROVE — A Columbus Grove graduate who is serving in the Ohio House received praise for efforts in trying to fix the school funding problem.

During the April 17 meeting of the Columbus Grove Board of Education, Columbus Grove Superintendent Nick Verhoff praised the efforts of State Rep. Robert Cupp, R-Lima and state Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson), who are leading a bi-partisan effort in finding a more appropriate funding mechanism for Ohio schools.

Mr. Verhoff called the existing formula used to fund public schools in Ohio as outdated and convoluted. School funding is incredibly difficult and challenging especially with the diversity in the state. Rep. Cupp, a graduate of Columbus Grove, has said the current funding formula with Ohio schools is seriously flawed. Cupp has been working with a group of school superintendents and treasurers over the last year in developing his proposal.

There was no price tag attached to the proposal, but the formula would be phased in over four years when districts would at least initially be guaranteed not to receive less funding than they currently receive. The current formula generally is what the state thinks it takes to educate a student statewide. The new formula would create a picture on a district-by-district basis, looking at the district’s financial picture and what a student there would need to succeed.

The formula would base 60 percent of a district’s funding on what would be needed for basic classroom instruction, 15 percent on needs for instructional and student support, 20 percent on school operations and 5 percent on direct administration and financial management. The new formula would continue to look at a district’s ability to raise money through local property tax levies but would add a component looking at resident income.

Sixty percent of the poverty factor would be based on property values and 40 percent on income based on federal income tax filings. The plan, among other things, would offer access to high-quality preschool for students deemed disadvantaged. It would look at the number of students who need help with English as a second language and provide one computer device for each student.

Meanwhile, Elementary Principal Brad Calvelage reported 50 students have registered for kindergarten screenings held earlier this week. Elementary testing is complete except for those who need makeup tests. Mr. Calvelage praised the teachers for doing a great job preparing the students for the tests. High School Principal Brian Best reported prom went very well, and the junior class did a great job in putting it together. He also thanked the parents for their assistance in making the annual dance a success.

The board also accepted the resignation of Jill Glass who is retiring as the Seventh Grade English teacher. Verhoff said he greatly appreciates the many years of dedicated service that Glass has given the district including as yearbook advisor.

“Jill has been what I consider a “go to” teacher in our district over her years of service to CG,” Superintendent Verhoff said. “Her work in the classroom speaks for itself, as her students have shown excellent academic growth year after year. She is going to be greatly missed here at CG.”

The board also approved the hiring of Abbie Norton as Seventh through 12 Health and Physical Education teacher based on Superintendent Verhoff’s recommendation. He said they are excited to have her on board for next fall.

“She has some big shoes to fill with the retirement of Connie Arthur, but those two have already been in touch and will be working together so there is a smooth transition for next year,” Superintendent Verhoff said.

In other business, the board:

• approved the following supplemental contracts for 2018-19 school year – Derek Rieman, junior high track; Kristen Verhoff, one-half musical director; Matt Blymyer and Sam Black, one-fourth musical director; Superintendent Verhoff noted Rieman will work with the high school program. He said there are more than 100 students in the junior high and high school track programs which is likely a record.

• approved a resolution for the district to administer state tests for the Third Grade ELA and mathematics in paper format for the 2019-20 school year.

• approved a resolution requesting certification of income tax rates. This is the first step in putting the .75% income tax levy on the November ballot.

• approved the resignation of Connie Arthur as assistant girls’ track coach effective May 31.

• heard this year’s graduation ceremony will be at 2 p.m. May 26.

The next regular meeting of the Columbus Grove Board of Education is scheduled for Monday, May 20, at 8 p.m. in the library.