The Swanton Board of Education voted Wednesday to table a building reconfiguration plan presented by Superintendent Jeff Schlade. The board will revisit the plan in November.
The plan called for moving students out of the current middle school beginning in the 2016-17 school year, due to continuing concerns with the boilers and the overall condition of the building. With the tabling of the issue, the move would not happen until at least the 2017-18 school year.
Under the plan, seventh and eighth grade students would move to the high school. The seventh and eighth grade teachers would have been on the west side of the building with the 9-12 teachers mostly on the east side of the building.
Crestwood School would house grades 4-6 and Park School would house preschool through third grade students. The switch of grades would be made in the elementary schools because grades PK-3 would not fit at Crestwood.
“It’s a very sound way to have your primary school configured,” Schlade said of putting PK-3 together in the same building.
Some board members said the plan seemed academically sound but questioned if there was enough time.
“My first concern is the time frame,” said Board President Steve Brehmer. “I’m sure it could happen, but I’m not sure it could happen as seamlessly and as efficiently as we’d like it to happen.”
Board member David Smith also worried about the time it would take to move teachers and get settled. He added that it “looked like there wasn’t enough room (to move the three middle school grades into other buildings).”
Board member Kris Oberheim also expressed some hesitation. “In some eyes it might be black and white but in my eyes there is a lot of gray.” And she also was concerned about keeping students in the middle school building and spending money that is wasteful.
Superintendent Jeff Schlade had recommended the move to the board. He met with the Full Administrative Management Team, the Swanton Education Association President and building staffs, spoke with board members, and had follow-up conversations with principals before recommending the reconfiguration.
When looking into space available in the district, he discovered that at this time the use of modular buildings would not be necessary if the middle school was closed. That coupled with the February shutdown of a boiler at the middle school helped to precipitate the discussions about possibly re-configuring the buildings for next school year.
“I think everything that has been presented to us makes sound academic sense. I just am not sure that we have the time frame,” Brehmer said to applause from the crowd that consisted mostly of teachers and other district staff.
• The board approved cancelling the late start planned for April.
• The 2016-17 school calendar was approved by the board. It includes a first day for students of Aug. 24 and a last day of June 1. District staff selected the calendar by vote.
• The board approved a contract with the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) Local #618. It was also ratified by OAPSE.
It is a three-year deal that includes a 2 percent raise in the second and third years.
The board approved the contract 3-1 with Chris Nijakowski voting no and David Smith abstaining, saying he did not have a chance to review the contract.
• The board approved supplemental contracts for Tyler Lauber, assistant high school girls track coach; Kyle Borer, junior high assistant boys track coach; Tim Spiess, assistant baseball coach; Niklas Tschantz, reserve baseball coach; and DeNetra Smith, junior high head boys track coach.
• It was reported that the Swanton High School quiz team won the NBAL round robin league tournament, beating Evergreen in the finals. The win qualified the team for the regional tournament.
Crestwood School principal Angela Belcher reported that kindergarten screening will be the third Wednesday and Thursday. As of last week, 65 students had signed up.
She added that Family Fun Night will be held April 21 for grades K-5. Representatives from the Toledo Zoo are coming with an exhibit.
Paulette Baz, Park principal, said that AIR testing will begin April 12 at Park and continue through May 5.
The Swanton Middle School United Way After School Program has now enjoyed multiple lessons from Penta Career Center, according to middle school principal Matt Smith. The lessons included video game design, pH scale lab and self-defense.
He also reported that eighth grade students visited Penta Career Center on March 3 to see examples of programs the school has to offer.
High school principal Jason Longbrake reported that SEED and SACC are promoting healthy lifestyles with a week designed to show the harmful effects of drug and alcohol use by young people.
Drew Stambaugh can be reached at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise