Allen wants liaison to oversee site

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With a new middle school construction project on the horizon, London City Schools Superintendent Steve Allen is asking the board to approve extra manpower.

His recommendation is to hire a con-struction liaison on a contractual basis to oversee the $23 million project from the planning phase, set to start early next year, to completion, which would be about two years from now.

“This person’s sole purpose would be to represent the school district at the site and at meetings, then report back to me and to the board as you wish,” said Allen.

The central office is too understaffed to take on the job, Allen said, noting that it essentially consists of himself and Treasurer Britt Lewis. A temporary, con-tracted construction liaison would allow Allen to continue to focus on the district’s top priority, academics.

Board member Eric Schooley favors the idea, saying London’s academic mission cannot afford to have Allen diverting his attention to daily building site issues. The expenditure is worth the benefits to students’ education, he said.

Board member Vici Geer agreed that construction oversight is time-consuming and the district’s administrative staff is pared down compared to when the elemen-tary school was built. Should the district hire a construction liaison, she said the person should be experienced specifically in school construction.

Board member Melissa Canney asked Allen to present a job description at the next board meeting in November.

Middle School Softball and Baseball
Softball and baseball have been club sports for London Middle School students for the last several years. That means they are not school-sponsored.

The coaches recently submitted a proposal to the district that the sports become school-sponsored. As such, all school policies would apply to student participants, and the district would pay salaries to the coaches. The estimated cost to the district would be a maximum of $8,000, Allen said.

“I’m happy to see the proposal, and I think it’s long overdue,” Canney said, adding that the cost is not as high as she had heard it might be.

Board member Curtis Brooks likes the idea, too, but wondered how transportation would be handled. Allen said parents likely would use their own cars to drive athletes to games, as is the case for the high school softball and baseball teams.

“We have enough busses, but not enough drivers,” Allen said.

The superintendent noted that most of the other area school districts have school-sponsored middle school softball and baseball teams. The South Central Ohio League, to which London belongs, however, does not have middle school softball and baseball leagues. It would be up to London Middle School’s athletic director to find and schedule games, as well as hire umpires.

The board also asked about uniforms. The coaches’ proposal suggests use of extra high school uniforms. Allen foresees problems with sizes, which could mean the need for new uniforms and, therefore, extra costs. Lewis stated that the district’s general fund can only be used to pay for coaches’ salaries. All other expenses, such as uniforms, must come out of the athletic department budget or be covered by fund-raisers. The coaches address fundraisers in their proposal.

The school-sponsored status of both teams likely will be up for a vote at the board’s next meeting, Allen said.

Attendance Waiver
The board waived its attendance policy for three students. Larissa Swartz is participating in a 14-day mission trip to Central America. Nisha Patel and Ashish Patel are traveling with their family to India for 14 days to participate in the celebration of India’s religious leader’s 75th birthday.

Allen said the students have agreed to meet certain deadlines for completing the school work they will miss. He also said he would not have recommended the waiver if the students were not doing well in their classes.

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