About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

9/15/16 – 5:12 A.M.

The nation is short 60,000 teachers, and experts expect the gap to grow. That’s according to a new study published by the Learning Policy Institute in Palo Alto, California. The superintendents of several local schools tell the Courier changing education standards and increased testing are likely to blame for the problem.

Findlay City Schools Superintendent Ed Kurt says fewer teachers in the pipeline has made it harder to find quality applicants for open positions. He added it’s hard to find teachers for higher-level math and science programs. For classes like geometry and algebra II, he’s seen as few as four applicants for jobs. Kurt says the district tries to keep salaries competitive.

Cory Rawson Superintendent Bob Hlasko tells the newspaper, “Education has become less of an art and, instead, has become an assembly line.” He added the district gets about half the applications for open positions as it did in the past.

The Vanlue school district felt the shortage this year. Superintendent Traci Conley says they were still trying to fill two openings just days before the school year began. She believes school reforms have, “placed teachers in the crossfire.” She added that’s not appealing to potential educators.

Changing standards and standardized tests aren’t the only reasons for the shortage. Conley and McComb Superintendent Meri Skilliter say mass retirements by baby-boomers have led to a large amount of openings.

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Findlay High School suspended two freshmen following what school officials are calling a threatening post on social media. The Courier reports an Instagram post showed two girls with plastic guns holding a sign that said, “I hate everyone, you hate everyone. Let’s shoot up the school at homecoming.” The caption to the picture read, “If school shooting was a sport. America would get the gold.”

Findlay City Schools Superintendent secretary Meagan Brown says police officers removed the girls from school Tuesday. Superintendent Ed Kurt will meet with the students next week, and could expel them.

Findlay High School’s homecoming football game is set for September 30. The homecoming dance will be October 1.

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9/14/16 – 11:26 A.M.

A scaffolding collapse killed a contract worker for Marathon Petroleum in Texas Monday. The Galveston County Daily News reports 22-year-old Louis Gonzales-Brock fell into the Port of Texas City and never resurfaced. The reports says the man was wearing a lifejacket but may have gotten stuck on the scaffolding under water.

Gonzales-Brock was one of five people working for Excel Modular Scaffold of Louisiana at the site. The other workers were not hurt. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident.

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9/14/16 – 7:55 A.M.

Police arrested a man suspected in a Tiffin gas station robbery Monday. The Review-Times reports authorities found 26-year-old Cody Johnson in a home at 201 Gibson Street. A release from the Seneca County Drug Task Force-METRICH Enforcement Unit says Johnson was also wanted for safe cracking, or unlawfully opening or attempting to open a safe or vault. It also said Johnson could be violent.

The Tiffin Police Department accuses Johnson of stealing guns from several jurisdictions. Officers searching the home where officers found Johnson say they turned up a small amount of suspected crack cocaine, stolen guns, criminal tools, and drug paraphernalia.

Johnson is facing several charges, including kidnapping and aggravated menacing. He’s currently being held in the Seneca County Jail.

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9/14/16 – 7:32 A.M.

We won’t know why the FBI is investigating the Allen County Sheriff’s Office for a while. According to the Lima News, the FBI says it could be a month or two before they make more information public. FBI agents collected information at the sheriff’s office on September 7. So far there’s no word on what the agents were looking for when they served a search warrant.

In the meantime, Sheriff Sam Crish has not been back to work since the investigation began. Sheriff Lt. Matt Treglia tells the newspaper day-to-day operations have not changed.

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9/14/16 – 7:24 A.M.

Continued business development on State Route 103 in Bluffton is good news for the economy, but a problem for traffic on the east side of the village. The Lima News reports village officials held a public meeting Tuesday to get information for possible upgrades to the highway.

Possible upgrades could mean adding turn lanes, increasing lighting, or adding sidewalks. The study will also look at adding access roads.

ODOT is paying $50,000 of the $58,000 price tag for the study. ODOT has also given the road a “high rural road risk” designation to the corridor. An engineer from Choice One Engineering of Sidney said there have been 30 crashes along the corridor over the last three years.

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9/14/16 – 6:54 A.M.

The Fostoria Municipal Building will be more handicap accessible in the future. The Review-Times reports the Seneca County Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve a contract to renovate the first floor restroom of the building. Studer-Obringer Construction of New Washington submitted the winning bid. It was for a little more than $87,800, which was within 10 percent of the $80,000 estimate for the work.

It’s the second time the project was bid. Helms Construction of Findlay submitted a bid for more than $114,000 earlier this year. The commissioners rejected that bid since it was more than 10 percent of the estimated price. State law says public entities can not accept bids that are more than 10 percent of the estimate.

Only one company submitted a bid each time the project came up.

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9/14/16 – 5:29 A.M.

Changes to federal labor laws prompted the Hancock Park District to raise the salary of one of its employees. The Courier reports the board approved changing the base pay of the naturalist/program manager from $38,500 a year to $47,500. Regulations that go into effect on December 1 say anyone making less than nearly $47,500 is eligible for overtime pay.

Base pay for the marketing manager was changed to $19 an hour. The position was also changed to an hourly role.

The board also approved a pay increase for the director of the parks district. The $60,000 a year salary for Gary Pruitt has been bumped to $66,000. According to a report, a survey of 111 park districts across the nation found $66,000 was the average salary for a parks director.

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9/14/16 – 5:17 A.M.

Arcadia’s superintendent has been given a contract extension. The Courier reports the Arcadia school board approved a two-year extension for Bruce Kidder during their Tuesday meeting. The contract will run from August of next year through July of 2019. His $90,000 salary will not change.

High School Principal Bill Dobbins also got a two-year extension. The contract also lasts from next August through July of 2019. Dobbins’ $82,500 salary was not changed.

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