Perrysburg faces more classroom crowding
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 09:49
PERRYSBURG - Classroom space is increasingly at a premium in the district, and the issue is coming to a head.
At Monday's school board meeting, Superintendent Tom Hosler outlined the space concerns for the burgeoning schools - and the issues the district will face as early as next year.
"That puts us in a position where we're looking at a need for more classrooms," he said.
For the 2013-2014 school year, for instance, Hosler stated that Fort Meigs elementary will need five new classrooms to accommodate a new fifth grade class among others, including an all-day kindergarten room if the district selects ADK as the primary option. Frank Elementary will need six classrooms to accommodate a new fifth grade, second grade and first grades, a special needs room, and two all-day kindergarten rooms. A new fifth grade teacher at both of those schools has also been recommended.
The district currently serves more than 4,800 students spread out amongst four elementaries, the junior high and the high school. The student population has grown by 1.5 percent annually over the last six years.
"We know that the community is going to continue to grow and we've seen that each year," he said.
In 2011, a 16-member Strategic Facilities Committee was convened, and worked for 10 months. They supported a plan to build a seventh and eighth grade school building on the high school campus, and use the current junior high school for fifth and sixth grade students. The cost of that project could be as much as $38 million in total.
Hosler recounted this proposal at the meeting, noting hopes that a facilities plan will be finalized by the end of 2013, with a levy, if need be, put on the ballot in November of 2014 or 2015 to pay for any new construction. Construction would likely be completed in 2018, assuming positive outcomes.
"One common thread through all this was that doing nothing was not a viable option," said Hosler.
Exacerbating the question is all-day kindergarten, which is increasingly popular in the district - but which also requires a great deal of space. Enrollment for kindergarten is currently underway, and the district is on pace to surpass the current year's 55 percent of youngsters participating in ADK.
"We're the managers of the district," said board member Mark Schoenlein, "so we have to support what you (Hosler) want to do. But ADK is going to continue to aggravate the situation" in terms of space.
"It's really a question of when, not if, the state requires it," said member Walt Edinger. The cost to the district of ADK for all kindergartners could top $500,000 annually.
Aging facilities are also an issue. Three of the elementaries are more than 30 years old, and the oldest, Toth, will be 60 this year; the junior high was built in 1964. Custodial space and break rooms have been converted into classrooms at Fort Meigs Elementary, for instance, and the space issues have created a number of problems at the junior high, where the orchestra is forced to practice in corners of the school's auditorium, and student lunch times are staggered over nearly three hours.
About 15 portable classrooms have been used recently throughout the district to accommodate the growing student population.
Hosler indicated that he did not expect a decision now, but asked for questions for a later meeting.
In further business, the board heard that outgoing Rossford Interim Superintendent Bill McFarland may be hired to the post of principal at Woodland Elementary - a position to be vacated by current principal Daniel Creps, who was officially named Monday night as Rossford's superintendent.
"We have a tentative start date of April 8 for Bill, and we are hoping to have him work 'til the middle of June. So we're moving forward with that." A special meeting to approve McFarland and accept Creps' resignation was tentatively scheduled for March 25. The Rossford school board raised eyebrows last week by announcing their choice of superintendent - and signing Creps to an initial contract - without an official vote. They were expected to confirm Creps at their regular meeting Monday night.
In other matters, the board:
• Recognized the high school's 15 Ohio Governor's Youth Art Exhibition finalists, and state winners Jenna Doore, Pamela Ocala, Tyler Saner, and Emily Wyrick.
• Watched an anti-bullying video made by fifth-grade Excel students at Woodland. The video was introduced by their teacher, Gina Heurig.
• Announced an anti-bullying summit to be held in the auditorium of the Commodore Building, Thursday at 7 p.m.
• Discussed suggestions for how the structure and flow of the board meetings might be altered for efficiency. Schoenlein asked if Powerpoint presentations could be made shorter - limited, for instance, to five or seven slides. "Too many slides," he said.