Alder awaits funding for next building phase

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If all goes well, next year the Ohio School Facilities Commission should approve the release of funding for Phase II of Jonathan Alder Local Schools’ building and renovation program.

“There’s no guarantee right now, but it looks like July or December of next year when we will hear if we have been approved for the funds,” said Superinten-dent Doug Carpenter at the board of education’s Sept. 10 meeting.

The first phase of the building program yielded a new high school and a new Monroe Elementary.

“When we first started talking about this building program, we said we would like to be starting on Phase II of the program in 2008. It looks like we’ll pretty well be on schedule,” Carpenter said.

Phase II includes construction of a new elementary building for Plain City, a redesign of the middle school, and an addition to the Canaan building to prepare the district for future growth.

Carpenter said approval for the second phase can’t come too soon as Plain City is poised to grow by about 200 new homes in the next year.

“Which means next year and the year after that, we’re going to see some significant increases in enrollment around here,’’ Carpenter said.

Open Enrollment Deadline

The board’s discussion about the student population extended to its open enrollment policy, which has attracted several families from outside the district. In response to the increased interest, the board set a new open enrollment application date. It is now Nov. 1 of the school year preceding the school year a student plans to attend Jonathan Alder.

“As an example, applications for students who wish to attend a district school in the 2008-2009 school year won’t be accepted until Nov. 1 this year since this is the 2007-2008 school year,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter said the popularity of the open enrollment policy has grown since its adoption two years ago. The district office is swamped with applications during the summer and early fall before projections of classroom space are available for the next school year.

Summer Intervention

Jamie Pund, Jonathan Alder’s director of teaching and learning, reported that parents, teachers and students gave the summer intervention program good reviews. The program refreshes students’ educational skills, including reading and math. Previously, the program took place in June. Pund said this is the first year it has taken place in August.

“We had 175 students enrolled in the program, from incoming first-grade students to incoming 10th-grade students,” Pund said. Previously, the program did not include 10th-graders.

“Outside of the problems with the heat we had in August, the August program seemed to be well received,’’ Pund said.

Teachers and parents said the late summer refresher course helped to keep the information learned in the classrooms fresh in the minds of students as they prepared to enter their new classrooms for the next school year, she said.

Next Meetings

The board set a board work session for 8 a.m. Sept. 29 in the board offices at Jonathan Alder High School. The board’s next regular meeting is at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 in the board office.

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