SABINA — The East Clinton school board has approved a planning phase to prepare for a possible middle school construction project.
The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OFSC) earlier this year notified the school district it’s eligible for state funding assistance to build a new facility, as the News Journal has reported. Approving the planning process does not commit the district to a building project.
State dollars would pay for most of a project, but a local match of 20 to 25 percent would be needed.
The middle school, located in Lees Creek, originally was built in 1905.
At a board meeting this spring, East Clinton Superintendent Eric Magee said an existing bond levy will be paid off in 2017, and the timing could work out so that district voters may look more favorably at passing a new levy as the current one comes off.
At the Sabina Elementary School Tuesday night, the board voted 4-0 to go ahead with a planning phase. The fifth board member, Shane Walterhouse, was absent.
On the eve of a new school year, Magee stressed the importance of staff keeping in view the district’s common vision: “Build champions and ambassadors.” In brief, being a champion has to do with potential, and being an ambassador involves strong character traits, according to the superintendent.
East Clinton Middle School Principal Robbin Luck, in a report to the board, said in connection with the district’s overall vision she has chosen “Share our strengths” as a guiding principle for staff members in the 2015-16 academic year.
The sixth-grade class this year is a big one, Luck said. There are 122 sixth-graders, compared to last year’s 100, she said.
Sabina Elementary School’s new Principal Jennifer “Jennie” Pierson reported the largest classes there are kindergarten with 66 children as of Tuesday, and fourth grade.
In other business at the session:
• East Clinton Plant Operations Manager James “Jim” McDowell spoke about work that’s been done to address Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance issues. Items to replace door thresholds have been ordered, he said.
• Magee spoke about a prospect for new scoreboards in the high school gymnasium. There is a verbal agreement with Peoples Bank to pay 100 percent of the cost.
“We definitely appreciate that,” said the superintendent.
• The board approved three FFA out-of-state road trips planned for September, October and November. The events are the National Dairy Judging competition in Harrisburg, Pa. in mid-September, the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky. in late October, and the National Livestock Judging competition in Louisville, Ky. in mid-November.
• Board members OK’d a $680 dues payment to the Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding, to which East Clinton belongs. According to the coalition’s website, “Currently the coalition is working with 10 other statewide education organizations to draft and promote a comprehensive constitutional amendment that would create a high quality public education system throughout Ohio with funding predicated on student needs.”
Coalition membership includes more than 500 school districts in Ohio.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.