Ashtabula School Board re-elects president and vice president

Jan. 13—SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — The Ashtabula Area City Schools Board of Education held its annual organizational meeting Wednesday night at Lakeside High School.

During the meeting, the board members voted to elect two officers for 2023.

The school board re-elected William Niemi as president, and Debra Barrickman as vice president. Both members served in the positions in 2022.

Board member Donald Rapose said he nominated Niemi and Barrickman for a fluid transition while the board is in the midst of hiring a new superintendent.

But not all of Rapose's fellow board members were happy with his nominations.

Board member Timothy Fleming said the board should "be mindful in the future" about voting for "the same two or three people."

He expressed disappointment in not being allowed to serve as president or vice president, as this is his fourth year in office.

When it came down to a vote, Niemi was voted in unanimously, but Fleming was the lone "no" vote when it came to Barrickman.

Former Superintendent Mark Potts resigned the position last summer and, not finding a satisfactory replacement, the board hired John M. Rubesich to serve as interim superintendent while they continue the search.

Rubesich retired from the Ashtabula County Educational Service Center in 2019, after 11 years and agreed to serve until a superintendent can be found.

The board also:

—Approved membership in the Ohio School Boards Association at a cost of $9,671, as well as membership in OSBA Legal Assistance Fund for the year at a cost of $250.

—Set the third Wednesday of the month as dates for its 2023 meetings.

—Named board member Laura Jones as legislative liaison.

After the organizational meeting, the board held its regular monthly meeting, in which it approved $187,500 in roof repairs at Lakeside Junior High School by Farrell Roofing of Cleveland.

The work, which covers about 106,000 square feet, will be purchased through Choice Partners Cooperative Purchase Agreement.

Other parts of the roof were replaced in 2020, according to the contract.

In other business, the board:

—Approved a resolution authorizing the superintendent to work with other administrators and legal counsel to negotiate and finalize a change order for additional work on security improvements. The amount of the change order should not exceed $26,950.

—Approved the 2022-2023 AACS Gifted Identification and Service Plan, ensuring that procedures are established to identify all gifted students.

—Approved the revised 2023-2024 school calendar, marking Aug. 23 as students' first day.

The next regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 15 at Lakeside High School.