Board also votes to increase taxes.

 — The Wayne Highlands School Board did not take a vote Tuesday night concerning soon-to-be-ousted varsity girls basketball coach Tracy Ludwig.

Last week it was announced by Superintendent Greg Frigoletto that the board had decided not to renew the contract of Ludwig, whose teams have won two consecutive district championships and made state tournament appearances in both of those years.

Frigoletto said the board had decided to "go in a different direction" with the girls basketball program.

Many thought the board would make a formal motion to oust Ludwig, who did not submit a letter of resignation.

However, there was no such motion during the meeting.

After the meeting, Frigoletto said the board decided to post her job as open.

It's an unusual move because normally, coaching positions are posted three times per year — for spring, fall and winter sports.

In fact, at Tuesday's meeting, the board approved hiring the fall coaches for 2013.

Frigoletto said normally those positions are posted prior to the seasons.

But in the case of Ludwig, he said the board made a decision to immediately post her job as open. Persons from within the school district will have 10 days to apply and then it will be open to anyone.

"We will be appointing a new coach for the 2013-14 season," said Frigoletto.

Asked if Ludwig technically remains the coach until the position is filled, Frigoletto would only say that she "concluded her responsibilities at the end of the season."

Frigoletto also repeated the answer he gave to media members in recent days when it comes to why the board has decided to change coaches.

He said the board has "made a decision" to "transition from coach Ludwig to another coach."

Asked if that meant the board was looking for a non-winning program, Frigoletto said, "No," but then added that was "all I have to offer" about the subject.

The board has continued to stay mum about the exact reasons Ludwig was ousted as coach and Ludwig herself said earlier this week she hasn't been given specifics as to why they are making the change.

The board cites personnel reasons as to why it cannot comment on the matter.

Tax increase

The board voted Tuesday to increase property taxes for residents within the district.

The budget approval was preliminary and could change, said Frigoletto.

He said there are "two things" which could lead to a change in the budget.

One is the ongoing contract negotiations with the Wayne Highlands Education Association. The other, he said, is getting the final budget approval from the state.

On Tuesday, the board voted to set the mill levy for the district at 14.955 mills, which is a slight increase from the current level of 14.705 mills.

For a house with a valuation of $100,000, it means the taxes will be $1,495 per year. That's an increase of $2.08 per month, or just under $25 per year.

He did note that in January, the preliminary budget showed a larger possible increase but the district has lowered that number since that time.

Frigoletto cited increases in health insurance and a larger contribution to the state employee's retirement fund as the reason for the increase.

He did say the board is "working on" the issue of health care costs, presumably meaning that is part of the ongoing contract negotiations.

Frigoletto said they will "see where that goes."

When asked about the status of negotiations, Frigoletto would only say the two sides are "still talking."

The board on Tuesday also approved four other tax measures, something Frigoletto called "standard" and said they have not changed from the previous year.

That includes an occupational tax, two per-capita taxes and a real estate transfer tax.

Totaled, those taxes are expected to raise more than $750,000.

All of the tax votes were unanimous.

Board members voting for the taxes were Tom Fasshauer, board president, George Korb, Robert Diehl, Jr., Kim Eldred, Heather Stephens, Kathleen Grandjean, John Lowe and Thomas Dirlam.

Board vice-president Lothar Holbert was not at the meeting.

Note: We'll have more about the school board meeting in tomorrow's newspaper.