|WL-S officials move forward with proposed levy aimed at improving current K-12 building|
|Written by Joshua Keeran|
|Thursday, 26 July 2012 13:38|
WEST LIBERTY – West Liberty-Salem Local Schools’ K-12 building is one year away from celebrating 25 years of service to the district’s youth, and the WL-S Board of Education is hopeful the community will support efforts to not only renovate the current building, but also make additions to the campus.
During the board’s regular meeting on July 17, members passed a resolution asking the Champaign County Auditor’s Office to certify a 7.55-mill, 27-year permanent improvement levy, the first step toward placing it on the November ballot. After receiving certification from the Champaign County Auditor’s Office, the BOE took another step in the levy process during a special meeting on Tuesday by voting in favor of submitting the language to the Logan County Board of Elections for approval.
According to Superintendent Kraig Hissong, the levy would generate $14.5 million with $9 million going toward the district’s share of an Ohio School Facilities Commission project and the rest being used for locally-funded initiatives not covered through the OSFC project.
Under the OSFC project, Hissong noted the state would provide $22.5 million on top of WL-S’s contribution only if voters agree to fund a portion of the project.
“The improvements are extensive. It would be a complete renovation of the existing facility and about 28,000-square feet of new instructional space,” he said. “This project would replace many of our items like the roof, HVAC … etc. that are beginning to fail. It would also enlarge undersized classroom spaces and remove modular units.”
With the help of state funds, Hissong said the project will also help bring the building into the 21st century.
“The OSFC project brings us a lot of technological improvements as well,” he said. “It will help bring us up to scale. When the building was built back in the ’80s, we weren’t there.
“The project will also air condition the whole building, making it a better learning environment for the kids,” Hissong added.
The $5 million designated as locally-funded initiative funds would be used to improve the core spaces of the building, including the cafeteria, which Hissong deemed “undersized.”
“The current small gym would be repurposed for cafeteria space, allowing the district to better serve our students,” he said. “Currently, some students are eating as early as 10:30 a.m. for lunch all the way until 1 p.m. For those students eating at 1 p.m., the morning is very long.
“Since the current small gym would be used for cafeteria space, a new auxiliary gym would be built for physical education and middle school/high school events,” Hissong added. “The gym would have a full-sized floor with about half the seating of our current high school gym.”
The locally-funded initiative money would also go toward helping with renovations not covered by OSFC like enlarging some of the classrooms and adding an access drive to the school from U.S. Route 68, Hissong said.
“The drive would be located south of the current drive and would provide another entrance/exit from the campus,” he said. “This would improve traffic flow, congestion and safety of our students, especially during opening and dismissal times.”
Even before the board took the first step toward bringing a permanent improvement levy to the voters for approval, BOE members and district administrators spent two-plus years working with the community to see what they would be willing to support.
“We had a phone survey conducted by a company called Governing Dynamics,” Hissong said. “They took a random sample of 250 registered voters and took them through a 10- to 15-minute survey about questions involving the school.”
Hissong revealed the survey showed “around 60 some percent were supportive of the levy after they heard why the district needed it … and 70 some percent were in favor of locally-funded initiatives to support the school district.”
“Those numbers are suppose to have a 95 percent accuracy rate if you were to plug and pull out another 250 people,” Hissong said. “We are hoping those numbers are pretty accurate.”
After looking over the report presented to the district by Governing Dynamics, the board decided to move forward with the proposed levy.
“We felt like it made sense to go ahead and do what we felt was the proper thing to do to bring this school district up to standards and help support our community,” Hissong said.
In other business, the board:
•Agreed to purchase a 2013 Blue Bird Vision 72-passenger bus in the amount of $73,342 for August delivery through the Southwestern Ohio EPC 2012 Bus Purchase Program and Cardinal Bus Sales and Service, Inc.
•Agreed to re-establish the West Liberty-Salem High School Drama Club and approved Dianne Baumgardner as volunteer drama club advisor for the 2012-2013 school year
•Accepted the resignation for the purpose of retirement of Jan C. Wartman, elementary librarian, effective Oct. 1 and Sandy Detwiler, bus driver, retroactive to the end of the 2011-2012 school year
•Approved the resignation for personal reasons of Wes Krabill, bus driver, retroactive to the end of the 2011-2012 school year
•Approved the following purchase orders which exceed $10,000: US Bank Corp for Perry copier rental ($88,000), Cintas Corporation for cleaning and supplies ($14,000), White’s Service Center for summer bus repair and inspection ($37,000), PARS supplementary retirement plan payment No. 1 ($42,686.99) and Scott, Scriven & Wahoff for legal services ($20,000)
•Agreed to pay a enrollment and administrative fee in the amount of $640 to enter into an agreement with the Ohio School Comp 2013 Workers Compensation Group Rating Program
•Approved the 2012-2013 contract with C.A.M. for counseling services not to exceed $2,000
•Approved Tyler Norton as assistant girls soccer coach and Amanda Strickland as head varsity cheerleading advisor for the winter sports season (board incorrectly approved her for middle school cheerleading advisor during previous meeting)
•Approved Stephanie Spencer and Greg Thomas for the half-time shared events manager position for the upcoming school year
•Agreed to the following non-coaching supplemental contracts for the 2012-2013 school year: Shelly Williams (freshman class advisor, musical technical director), Todd Lewis (Quick Recall team advisor), Dan Gordon (instrumental music junior/senior high, orchestra director for musical), Trista Havens (half-time sophomore class advisor), Tracy Rafferty (half-time sophomore class advisor), Tim Lamb (junior class advisor), Dan McGill (half-time Leadership Academy/Link Crew), Angela Warye (half-time Leadership Academy/Link crew, half-time senior class advisor), Jeff Lynxwiler (half-time senior class advisor, high school yearbook advisor), Sue Beikert (musical director, high school vocal music, middle school vocal music), Carrie Smith (half-time National Honor Society advisor), Brandy Roberts (half-time National Honor Society advisor), Cameron Spencer (Science Olympiad advisor), Carol Catlin (half-time middle school student council/yearbook), Jennifer Blair (fourth-time middle school student council/yearbook), Stephanie Spencer (half-time middle school leadership/ web coordinator), Jeannie Gordon (flag corp advisor), Sally Engle (one-third elementary student council), Cindy Dallas (two-third elementary student council), Rod Hager (half-time web page coordinator) and Brian Yoder (half-time web page coordinator).