Columbiana schools get funds for MARCS radios

COLUMBIANA – Administrators at the Columbiana school buildings will have access to emergency radios in the near future thanks to state grant funding.

Superintendent Don Mook said Tuesday the district received a $6,000 grant for MARCS radios.

The state grant is divided into $2,000 per building for the equipment that will help school employees communicate directly with first responders in the event of an emergency, he said.

MARCS stands for Multi-Agency Radio Communication System.

“This will allow us to connect directly to law enforcement and allow us to connect directly to a 911 dispatcher … we are so fortunate that ODE brings us this grant program,” he said.

Connecting directly to a 911 dispatcher is crucial for school officials in the event of a wide-scale emergency that may cause cell phone towers to jam from an influx of 911 calls, he explained.

The grant funding is available through the School Security Grant Program administered by the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

In other business, the board wished a fond farewell to board members Dr. Jay Hertel and Randy Guy, who did not seek re-election this November and are retiring.

Board President Kelly Witmer said Hertel and Guy helped put the district in a “good place” over the years.

“You guys really made it fun and you gave it a really good effort, and we will miss you,” she said.

Guy said he has enjoyed working with everyone and thanked Mook for always giving credit where credit is due.

“I do want to thank everybody for working together so well. It has been a pleasure,” he said.

Board member Mark Hutson also commended Guy and Hertel for their work.

“You both have done a remarkable job for this district,” he said.

Hertel has served 12 years on the board and Guy has served eight years and they will be replaced by Scott Caron and Michael Clark in January.

The board then approved:

– An amendment to the 2013 section 125 Flexible Benefit Plan extending the grace period for carryover of unused contributions.

– Setting a budget hearing on the proposed tax budget for the period of July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015, with the budget available within 10 days in advance of the hearing, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14 in the high school media center, with the organizational meeting and regular board meeting to follow.

– Setting the compensation of board members for 2014 for a maximum of 12 meetings at a maximum rate of $125 per meeting as authorized by Ohio Revised Code 3313.12.

– Columbiana High School’s participation in indoor track during the 2013-14 school year at various area universities and colleges.

– Paying parents in lieu of transportation services for three students.

– The resignation of Amy McCormick as middle school yearbook adviser for the 2013-14 school year.

– Six people as youth wrestling volunteers, Dan Schlueter as volunteer wrestling coach, four people as Joshua Dixon classroom volunteers, Tad Lease, eight grade boys basketball volunteer, Bryan Weingart, boys basketball volunteer, Mike Strohecker, elementary girls basketball volunteer and Caroline McDermott, swim team volunteer.

– Mike Clark as athletic department game help for the 2013-14 school year, retroactive to his first day worked through Jan. 1, 2014.

– Kyle Moore as head varsity baseball coach for the 2013-14 school year and Larry Gilbert, eighth grade boys basketball coach.

– Austin Gill as substitute support staff.

– A Columbiana High School Marching Band and Choir field trip to Virginia on April 3 through 5.