Perrysburg debate continues over all-day kindergarten, space issues
Written by PETER KUEBECK, Sentinel Staff Writer
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 08:55
PERRYSBURG - Kindergarten and space issues in the school district received more talk but little action Monday.
Board members discussed those topics and a number of others in a marathon three-hour meeting.
Based on a potential alteration to a new state funding model for schools, Superintendent Tom Hosler said the administration is looking at maintaining the current half-day and full-day kindergarten offerings in Perrysburg.
"We have to plan with our budget for next school year," he said. The district had been giving some consideration to fully moving to all-day kindergarten at some point based on action from the state.
Board President Gretchen Downs expressed her concern over waiting, saying her two biggest priorities would be all-day kindergarten as well as a reduction in class sizes up through second grade.
"But we don't always get our priorities for everything," she said.
Member Mark Schoenlein, in response, noted that the all-day kindergarten cost would be $500,000 per year, but if Downs was so intent, "then let's do it. It feels like we're using the state as justification."
"If it's that important to you, let's just say we're going to do it," he continued.
"Next year?" asked Downs.
"I don't care," said Schoenlein, noting that it would still affect the budget whenever it is implemented.
"We are going to be wrestling with this issue non-stop, and that's what I think Mark's getting at," said Hosler.
The possibility of acquiring five used portable classrooms from Sylvania Schools is also moving forward. An architect was sent out to evaluate them on Monday, and more solid numbers as to the cost of moving and installing them are expected by week's end.
"We're taking a look at that and, hopefully, by the end of the week we'll have a solid direction," said Hosler.
The expected total cost of purchasing, moving and installing the units - three of which would go to Frank Elementary, with the other two going to Fort Meigs Elementary - is approximately $231,000. This expanded plan, which will be sent out for bid, would be voted on at a later date.
The portables would be paid for out of a $500,000 permanent improvement fund reserve. Doing so would not affect any of the other projects slated to be undertaken through the PI levy.
The units are expected to take care of the district's classroom space needs for the 2013-14 school year. The additional space is necessitated by a continually growing student population, as well as a substantial uptick in enrollments in all-day kindergarten.
Classrooms are increasingly at a premium in the district, where the population of 4,800 students is growing by approximately 70 each year - the equivalent of almost three classrooms.
The board also held a question-and-answer session with ABM, a Michigan firm which undertakes energy efficiency projects. The board has been discussing the possibility of moving forward with a slate of energy projects in the district, as allowed under Ohio House Bill 264.
"This is a big step for the board," said Hosler. "This is something the board wants to consider carefully."
Kelly Thomas of ABM noted that the district is currently spending $1.39 per square foot, or about $1.2 million, per year on utilities and related expenses. With a series of energy efficient overhauls, that could be cut to 97 cents, a savings of $361,000. The changes would consist of lighting upgrades, and a web-based heating and cooling system that connects multiple buildings.
"Those results are guaranteed," said Thomas.
Under HB 264, the district could finance the project, expected to cost about $4 million, over 15 years. If approved, the project could be in place by September.
"If you look at financing right now, this is the best time to finance a project," said Mark Turner of ABM.
In other business, the board:
• Approved a new performance salary increase schema for administrators. The increase scale is based on state student growth measures and internal evaluations.
• Approved a $349,000 contract with Downey Plumbing and Heating for HVAC work at Frank Elementary and a $96,434 purchase of a school bus. "We were disappointed that the price came in at this," said Treasurer and CFO Matt Feasel. "Our (permanent improvement fund) is being strained with the cost of these projects."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 April 2013 08:57