The board also heard a proposal about funding for an anti-tobacco program.
By JoANN JONES
BERLIN CENTER -- The Western Reserve Board of Education has approved the 2002-2003 estimated budget at $6,063,300 and also approved the district's fiscal five-year forecast.
A state law requires all school districts to submit a five-year estimate of expenses and revenue.
Bob Osthoff, who lives in the district and who has written government grants for 20 years, proposed that the board apply for funds from the American Legacy Fund to educate pupils and community members about tobacco use. He recently secured a similar grant for the East Liverpool school district.
The legacy fund has "money to give out," Osthoff said. "All we have to do is ask for it." He offered to write the grant at no charge to the district. Board member Robert Hermiller said the board would create a task force of staff members for the grant-writing process.
Other business: Before its regular meeting, the board had its yearly organizational meeting and welcomed Brian Gatrell, who was elected in November. Members elected Hermiller as president and Craig Myers as vice president for 2002.
They also set the service fund at $7,500; authorized Carol Brobst, district treasurer, to invest inactive funds and secure advances on property taxes when possible; and set regular meetings for the second Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the high school.
The board hired Jennifer Maust, a Mount Union College graduate, for two part-time positions at Ellsworth Elementary. Maust will be a reading tutor and will coordinate a state-funded reading program. "She started as a substitute but will stay in these positions from now until the end of the year," said superintendent Charles Swindler.
Software: The board also voted to spend $6,500 on computer software for the high school at the request of principal Jeff Zatchok.
Zatchok said the software would serve as both an intervention and classroom tool to help students with math. He reported that 88 percent of the freshmen passed the math section of the ninth-grade Ohio Proficiency Test given in October, but he added that math continues to be the most difficult part for students to pass.
"If we have seniors who haven't passed one of the tests," Zatchok said, "it's usually in math."