SABINA — East Clinton officials are eager to start a project to build a new middle school and upgrade the high school and two elementaries, but they’re waiting on state approval and at this point aren’t permitted to hire an architect.
East Clinton Local Schools Superintendent Eric Magee told the school board that an Ohio Schools Facilities Commission staffer informed him EC project approval was moved back to the July quarterly meeting due to changes in appointees at that level of state government occasioned by a new administration.
No school rebuilding projects would be approved at the first quarterly meeting, Magee was advised.
In giving an update on the building project to board members, the superintendent said, “Sad to say that the update is exactly where we have been for the last several months at this point.”
School district voters last November passed a proposed bond issue to fund the construction and renovation project. The state of Ohio is giving $11.5 million to assist East Clinton.
Although East Clinton has the dollars at this juncture to obtain an architect, it is not permitted to go forward with anything until the state gives its final approval and releases its share of funds, Magee reported.
The superintendent said if school district officials were to get an audience with the area’s state legislators, the educators would be inclined to ask the lawmakers to see whether at least the hiring of an architect could go forward so the district could hit the ground running when the state does give final approval.
Hiring an architectural firm will be the first step in the process, said Magee. Once an architect is employed, the district will then schedule a series of meetings to receive input from community members, teachers, coaches, and “any constituents who may have an interest in the design of the building,” he said.
Magee announced the district’s website will add a web page in the next week or so to provide residents up-to-date information on the progress of the construction and renovation project.
East Clinton Special Education Director Steven Sodini gave a report to the school board, much of it focusing on the Individualized Education Program, also called the IEP. An IEP is a document — a contract — that is developed for each public school child who needs special education, and lasts for one year, he said.
About 23 percent of EC students have been identified for an IEP, Sodini said, which compares to the state average of 17 to 18 percent. Roughly 300 East Clinton students have an IEP.
That represents a pretty big population within the student body and is nothing to be embarrassed about, he said.
On another matter, the board of education voted to approve a trap and skeet shooting club as a non-curricular student activity, with the club allowed to use the East Clinton name.
The district will not provide any funds or other resources to the new club. Further, no student, parent, district personnel or any other person associated with the club is permitted to have guns or ammunition in their possession or in their vehicles on any board-owned property, including all parking lots adjacent to any board-owned building or property.
East Clinton teacher Bruce Warren was approved as the volunteer advisor for the club. Both boys and girls are eligible to be members, and at least for the first year this spring club membership will be limited to high school students.
The first practice will take place the week of March 31. All shooting events will occur at a Clinton County Farmers and Sportsmen Association range.
The seventh- and eighth-grades girls basketball teams were recognized at the board meeting for being Southern Buckeye Conference North Division champions in their respective grades.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.