Perrysburg board gives superintendent more authority

PERRYSBURG — The school board held a special meeting on Wednesday for the purpose of bringing its bylaws
and procedures in line with the many changes brought about by the state in response to coronavirus.
On March 25 House Bill 197 was passed by the Ohio General Assembly which allowed for school districts to
make changes in operating procedures required by the Ohio Department of Health “stay at home” order
issued on March 22.
The board passed three resolutions. The board can now modify the school calendar for remote operation,
conduct meetings remotely, and has temporarily increased the superintendent’s authority regarding both
employee job descriptions and purchase order amounts from $3,000 to $25,000.
“This is not a free hand, it’s responding to crises,” Superintendent Tom Hosler said. “In the event we
needed to move people to another building, we would be able to make those modifications on the fly
without having the board approve it first. I’m hoping it’s something we don’t ever have to do, but if we
have to act quickly, we can.”
Procedures of informing the board of employee job description changes and reviews of expenditures would
continue.
Board member Sue Larimer questioned that the expanded spending authorization could be construed as a
“rubber stamp” from the board.
“For those that are listening, this is being done to help our district run expeditiously for the myriad
of things that keep running and occurring daily that nobody in their wildest dreams would have ever
thought of asking,” Larimer said.
Board member Eric Benington said that in the business world this had become necessary in order to conduct
efficient business, given the magnitude of changes that had taken place in response to the COVID-19
pandemic.
“In my years of experience, with you (Hosler), and issues that are a little more prickly, you do bring
them around for conversations, and I trust that that would continue,” Benington said.
Hosler gave the board several examples of some changes that school attorneys and associations had
indicated as possible needs requiring a solution before the board may meet again. The regular April
school board working group meeting has been canceled, and the May meeting could also be canceled. There
is also the possibility that, because of social distancing, future board meetings won’t have the
necessary number of members present for a vote.
Hosler said that approximately 580 of the school’s 600 employees are now working remotely, as are
students. Some of those students need breakfast and lunch. While most buildings are not in use, Toth
Elementary is providing those meals and requires new food preparation and delivery activities.
He also gave the example of possibly needing to send a school social worker out to do home checks on
students.
As for expenditures, if a school furnace boiler needs immediate repair, the previous limit of $3,000 for
an individual purchase order may be too low a number. The new limit of $25,000 per purchase order gives
administration leeway to act more quickly.
“There will be oversight from the finance committee, which is meeting,” Benington said. “Is anyone going
to argue that a boiler failure is an immediate need? I hope not.”
Board President Ray Pohlman added that other districts have expanded that limit to $100,000.
“A week from now we may decide that this number is not working, but we can change that,” Pohlman said.

From a broader budget perspective, Hosler has also been looking at the 2009 and 2010 school years for
comparisons to the current situation.
Three of the five board members were present for the special meeting: Larimer, Benington and Pohlman. All
three resolutions passed unanimously.