PERRYSBURG – Enrollment in the school district has grown by nearly 20% in the last decade.
“Enrollment is something on everyone’s mind,” said Perrysburg Schools Superintendent Tom Hosler at the Sept. 19 board of education meeting.
He reported that since 2012, enrollment in the district has grown 19%, or 919 students.
To put this into perspective, Perrysburg Junior High School currently serves 831 students, he said.
“In the last decade, we have added the entire population plus at Perrysburg Junior High,” he said.
Based on charts he showed at the meeting, enrollment in 2002 was around 4,400. It has shot up to nearly 5,800.
Hosler also explained how each kindergarten class since the 2010-11 school year has grown until it graduated.
For instance, 302 kindergarteners entered the district in 2010-11. When that class graduates next spring, there will be 429 students, or a growth of 127, he said.
Each class since 2010-11 has grown by more than 55 students – some in the 80s and 90s.
Just over the summer, the kindergarten class of 2021-22 gained 37 students, he said.
“We talk about that snowball that starts in kindergarten and it starts to move down the hill and it gets bigger and bigger,” Hosler said. “That’s how growth happens here.”
The challenge for staff and buildings is as a large class goes through, suddenly they need to find space and an extra teacher, he said.
The continued increases in enrollment and projected growth of the district has put enrollment beyond the capacity of the current buildings, which has resulted in portable classrooms at the high school and junior high, and Frank, Fort Meigs and Woodland elementaries.
Hull Prairie Intermediate School opened in 2017 for grades five and six to alleviate crowded classrooms.
A facility master planning committee, composed of over 50 community members who applied, has been meeting since February 2022. Their goal is presenting a unified recommended facility plan to the board by January 2023.
A new elementary school is one of the options being studied by this committee.
A subcommittee also is looking at the cost to build and the cost to operate, according to Hosler.
Also at the meeting, the board learned that incentives have been developed to entice current staff members to get a CDL in order to drive a bus. As of the meeting, two had signed up. The district is lacking 17 regular drivers and five substitute drivers.
There are 66 classroom paraprofessionals serving students in the district; 10 positions remain unfilled.
The board also heard a report on the football stadium’s restroom facilities. There is paint chipping on the inside and rusted gutters and stained block on the outside.
Moisture is seeping through the exterior block bricks, which need a waterproof coating. The roof needs a sealer.
An assessment was done last year for an estimate on how much it would cost to do the repairs, and it was $80,000.
“That is something we didn’t have the funds to do at the end of last year,” Hosler said. “It’s something that we’re continuing to look at.”
The restrooms are clean, it is just a worn building, he said.
Denise Zielske was hired as the child nutrition director and given a two-year contract with an $82,802 annual salary.
Christine Albright was hired as a coordinator for careers and community service and given a two-year contract with a $48,871 annual salary.
An overnight seventh grade High Impact Peer Program trip was planned to Camp Palmer in Fayette for two days in October and one night in the spring.
Board member Kelly Ewbank wanted to know why some students can take the trip but not all, and that she was struggling with the inclusiveness of the program.
It is an excellent program but is only benefiting a few, she said.
Board member Lori Reffert said this is a leadership program that trains the trainer.
Hosler said there were many programs in the district that are open to some students but not all, and that it would logistically be difficult to get the 427 students in the class, 20 at a time, to the camp.
“It’s been functioning for many years and it’s been working,” he said, adding that there needs to be a discussion with teachers before anything is changed.
The board approved the trip, 5-0.