VWCS Board of Education Meeting: August 17, 2022

Posted On: Thursday, August 18, 2022

Julie Burenga

New member Julie Burenga prepares to take the oath of office during Wednesday’s meeting of the Van Wert school board. She’s filling the seat previously held by Dr. Rachel White. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent


The newest member of the Van Wert City Schools Board of Education took the oath of office during Wednesday’s school board meeting.

Julie Burenga is replacing Dr. Rachel White, who resigned last month and moved out of state. She was one of four applicants for the seat. Burenga and her husband Tom have two daughters, Jamie, a college sophomore, and Amanda, a sophomore at Van Wert High School.

“I’ve been involved in the schools as a volunteer at every different level since my children started in the Van Wert City Schools and I’ve always loved that,” Burenga said. “As my kids have started to get older I have the capacity to take that involvement to a higher level, so it was a good time for me.”

Her term will end December 31, 2023.

Board member Debbie Compton replaced White as board vice-president and Scott Mull agreed to take her spot as the alternate delegate to the Ohio School Boards Association’s Capital Conference in November. Burenga will fill White’s spot on the Athletic Council.

School safety was discussed at some length during Wednesday’s meeting, with Assistant Superintendent Bill Clifton assuring the board that should a crisis arise in any of the buildings, the Van Wert Police Department will be ready to go.

“There will be no hesitation…whoever arrives first will be going in immediately,” Clifton stated. “I think that’s important for our staff to hear, I think important for our parents and community to hear and obviously for our kids to hear. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes to plan for and prepare for – we can’t prepare for everything but we believe we have a good foundation to build off of in the event something happens.”

He explained that approximately $33,000 recently awarded by the Ohio School Safety Center will go toward enhanced security at Van Wert Middle School.

“Those dollars will be used primarily for exterior cameras at the middle school but they will also have a few additional cameras inside the building as well,” Clifton said.

He added Van Wert Elementary is eligible for up to $50,000 in grant money for security enhancements and he said evacuation and reunification drills are being planned with 5-6 different scenarios.

Board member Greg Blackmore noted active shooter training is scheduled for September 12.

With the new school year starting, Clifton urged motorists to be watchful for children walking to school and to be extra cautious around buses.

“We have a lot of kids walking and they’re not going to be paying attention,” Clifton said. “I watch them crossing streets and think they have ownership of the streets, so it’s important for everybody to be vigilant. Buses will be out and the red lights will be on and the stop arms out…we have cameras in place and we now have the opportunity to capture a lot of that footage which helps us in legal action against people who violate those reds.”

Clifton also noted the need for more bus drivers. Applications are available on the district’s website, vwcs.net/employment.

During a brief report to the board, Superintendent Mark Bagley said excitement is high for the new school year and he and Clifton praised maintenance and custodial workers, along with summer crew members for their efforts in getting buildings ready for the new school year.

Bagley also said renovation plans are moving forward at Eggerss Stadium, including plans for artificial turf which will be installed next spring.

The board approved bus routes and shuttle schedules for the new school year along with a substitute staff list and the athletic handbook, and the board approved Career Education Opportunity (CEO) program agreements with Crestview and Lincolnview Local Schools, along contracts with both districts for students attending the Van Wert School at the Goedde.

Board members also recognized the Van Wert High School Band Parent Association, the Van Wert Parent Teacher Organization, the Cougar Pride Athletic Booster Club, the Recking Crew and the Van Wert Tennis Association as official district support organizations.

In personnel matters, the board approved several dozen supplemental contracts for various academic roles ranging from club advisors to leadership team members.

The next meeting of the Van Wert City Schools Board of Education will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday, September 28, in the First Federal Lecture Hall at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.


Article courtesy of The VW Independent

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