Penta to receive $2.4 million grant; moves forward with capital projectsNovember 29, 2023
By Jane Maiolo
Penta Career Center will receive a $2,434,062 grant from the State of Ohio to assist the district in constructing an E-mobility lab space for new programs related to training for electrical charging stations, advanced driver assist systems, EV auto maintenance and energy and power.
At the November 8 meeting, Superintendent Edward Ewers announced the grant award, which requires a $2.03 million match. The project will cost 4.47 million.
Treasurer Michael Harrigan said the local match will come from the district’s permanent improvement fund.
Penta is one of 35 schools statewide to be awarded a grant.
“We are very happy that Ohio is providing grant funds for career-technical schools, like Penta Career Center,” said Mr. Ewers.
“We are expanding our programs and student access to high-quality career technical training, and these funds will greatly help us with the construction of a new E-mobility lab space to train technicians for future regional and statewide, in-demand needs.”
Mr. Ewers displayed a rendering of where he believes the new building would be best suited–across from the automotive lab on the west side of the school.
The new facility will be constructed similar to a spec building with open spaces that could be converted for different uses over time and as needs change.
The ultimate goal is to create flexible lab space that grows as E-mobility takes shape.
To develop the lab, Penta administrators are working with Kleinfelder Architecture for master planning services and will soon award a contract for Construction Manager at Risk.
Mr. Ewers noted they cannot move fast enough as new EV fueling stations are opening throughout the area.
“There is a significant need for trained personnel,” he added.
The school board is moving forward with plans to renovate the cosmetology lab at the main campus and the Corporate Drive building in Holland.
The board approved the design for cosmetology and authorized the treasurer and superintendent to begin the bidding phase of the project, which will cost an estimated $1.4 million.
Because Kleinfelder Company serves as the construction manager, they will bid the project.
The board also authorized the company to proceed with the bidding phase of the Corporate Drive project which will cost $2.9 million.
In conjunction with these and other ongoing projects, the school board approved a spending authority by the treasurer to superintendent of up to $50,000 per occurrence for change orders.
Mr. Ewers requested the authority due to the “sheer volume of projects we have and the potential for delays.”
To keep the projects on target for completion, he believes the authority is needed. The superintendent doesn’t anticipate a lot of changes, particularly at that amount, and he will keep the board apprised of the changes at subsequent meetings.
Kelsey Frazier, food service supervisor, provided the department’s annual report.
She noted the building is now 16 years old and the kitchen was in need of some replacement equipment.
We got some really nice equipment and are working now on a sink replacement. She also plans to move things around to improve how the space functions.
Ms. Frazier said they serve 600 breakfasts daily and 1,100 lunches, all offered free of charge with the board’s decision to subsidize the meals.
She said most students “are really taking advantage of it,” and pointed out the staff also provides brown bag meals to those going with school-related functions.
Like other businesses, she noted the department is shorthanded but staff is working diligently to provide daily meals that meet nutrition standards.
In other business, the school board:
•Approved the employment of Amber Gonyer, substitute job coach, at a pay rate of $16.18 per hour through June 30, 2024.
•Accepted resignations from Teresa Nissen, teaching professions, effective November 24, and Wendy Struffolino, cafeteria worker, November 17.
•Received an update on activities at the school from Ryan Lee, director. Mr. Lee said with the recent Explore Penta days held earlier in the month, the district has begun its recruitment process.
“On December 4, we will host career night for families of our visiting sophomores to come check out Penta for themselves,” he added.
Mr. Lee also spoke briefly on the adult education programs for spring 2024 which include auto maintenance, construction, dental assisting, forklift training and more.
The district is offering in person and online programs.
•Heard from Mr. Harrigan that all the taxes have been collected for this calendar year. “We will begin collecting again in February,” he said.
•Approved 22 requests to attend professional meetings.
The next board of education meeting will be at 5:15 p.m., Wednesday, December 13, at the career center, 9301 Buck Road, Perrysburg Township, and is open to the public.
Penta releases five-year forecast
At the November 8 school board meeting, Penta Treasurer Michael Harrigan presented the five-year budget forecast for 2024-28 as required by state law and updated the board on recent finances. He reminded the school board that “it is difficult to prepare a five-year forecast when the state funding is not an absolute from fiscal years 2026 and beyond.”
He added, “The forecast is based on data and information available at the time using historical and current information.”
Board member Paul Walker, chair of the finance committee, believes the career center is doing well financially, noting that revenues are up this year. However, he pointed out expenses also have risen with salaries and benefits. “Overall, I think we are in pretty good shape.”
This year’s budget calls for revenues of $38.89 million with expenditures projected to be $40.08 million. The treasurer expects the district to finish the year June 30, 2024, with a cash balance of $15.48 million.
In 2025, the district is predicting revenues of $43.27 million and expenditures of $40.21 million. Beyond that time, Mr. Harrigan is showing only a slight increase in revenues with it topping out at $45.96 million in 2028. In contrast, expenditures will climb from $40.07 million in 2026 to $46.6 million in 2028. As a result, the cash balance is projected to be $18.9 million by 2028.
Contributing to the increase in expenses will be salaries, which are only known through current labor contract periods. The certified staff contract runs through June 30, 2025, and classified bargaining units contract is effective through June 30, 2026.
Health insurance benefits also are expected to increase over the next five years and discretionary expenses such as repair and maintenance, travel and supplies are predicted to rise.