LOWER SALEM – The Fort Frye Local Schools School Board met on Tuesday to discuss support staff replacements and the long-term facility plan.
The board discussed four options for the long-term installation plan.
The first option was a new Kindergarten to Grade 12 campus in Beverly, which would close the rest of the schools in the district. The approximate cost is $ 58 million and would require a bond issue.
The second option was a renovated campus in Beverly. The approximate cost of the Beverly-Center Elementary School expansion is $ 17 million, while the cost of the Fort Frye High / Middle School expansion is approximately $ 35 million.
Superintendent Dr.Stephanie Starcher explained that the second plan would be to expand the elementary school to make room for all students from Kindergarten to Grade 5, and keep the sixth through 12th building for the rest. students.
She said the other option in this plan is to add high school to make room for all the students.
The third option is to convert the Lowell Elementary site to house Lowell Elementary and Salem-Liberty students. The Beverly Center Elementary School and Fort Frye High / Middle Schools would remain in place. This plan is around $ 100,000 and would not require bond issuance.
The fourth option is to keep the configuration as is and would not require bond issuance either.
Board chairman Kevin Worthington said his concern was making decisions without voter approval. He said options two and three do not require bond issuance, but include closing schools within the community.
“I’m afraid we have 80 percent of our population that has no idea what’s going on,” said Worthington.
Vice-chairman Lloyd Booth suggested surveying the district to get the word out and get feedback from the community.
“What we are going to do is going to have an impact on our region over the next decades, so when we make a decision, let’s make the right one…” said Booth.
Starcher urged the board to move forward with the plan. She said the plan started in 2018 with the hiring of an architect, with the community group’s first meeting in February 2019. She said the board had legitimate reasons to put planning on hold, but has explained that it is difficult to manage a district with no future in sight. .
“It’s hard to run a district when you don’t know where you’re going. I’m afraid we’re spending money on the wrong side or making decisions that don’t fit into the installation plan you decide on, “ she said. “We can make any setup plan work in this district, you have confident teachers, janitors, maintenance workers, bus drivers…”
The board did not specify a timeline for this project at the time of writing.
No decision has been made, but the board will discuss conducting a survey based on the long-term installation plan at the January education board meeting.
The board also discussed back-up support staff. Booth said he was concerned about emergency legislation that allows Ohio school boards to relax requirements for hiring substitute teachers. Booth wanted to make sure the district hired the most qualified applicants at the time of hiring, so that students received the best possible education, and also questioned the background check process during the hiring phase.
Starcher said this is a dilemma as there is a shortage of teachers nationally and nationally, and an even greater shortage of replacements. She said she has not received any complaints about replacements hired because of the legislation, but has heard several comments from teachers who have had to abandon their planning period, or who are exhausted or exhausted, because they did not. no access to a substitute teacher.
“And I think the idea of lowering the requirements isn’t necessarily ideal, but at this point it’s probably necessary,” he added. said Andy Sleek, president of the Fort Frye teachers’ association.
Sleek reassured Booth that in long-term replacement situations, the administration does its best to find the most qualified people.
James Dobbs can be contacted at [email protected]