CW Schools and historical society could team up to create museum

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

The Canal Winchester Area Historical Society could add another museum to its inventory.

The possibility arose following a discussion by the Canal Winchester Board of Education to sign over rooms in its education center on Washington Street above the National Barber Museum.

During the board’s Nov. 15 meeting, Canal Winchester Schools Superintendent James Sotlar said the society is running out of space due to an accumulation of artifacts and is asking the district for help.

“They’ve come to me talking about possibly using space that’s above the Barber Museum and possibly having a Canal Winchester historical museum,” said Sotlar. “We could have two museums there. We did a lot of looking at what that old building is used for and we have a lot of stuff we need to purge. We have enough room to move things around and provide them space.”

Board member Steve Donahue, who is also an active member of the historical society, said the organization would cover the costs of moving material into the new space and renovations to make the museum handicap accessible

Donahue said the curator of the barber museum, Mike Ippoliti, is also in need of extra space. Part of the Washington Street complex dates back to 1862 and ceased operation as a school in 2007. An Ohio Historical Marker was recently installed recognizing the former school’s history through the efforts of a 2017-18 high school local history class.

“We’d like to have a Canal Winchester area museum where kids can come in and learn about Canal Winchester, what it was, how this building down at the other end was built and how there used to be one building for girls and one for guys,” said Donahue. “We want to educate them the best we can. We’re getting a lot of artifacts.”

Sotlar said with the Barber Museum below, there could be a historical museum above and a library branch around the corner. He felt the new museum would be good for the community and said the district has plenty of space and room to share that can no longer be used as student classrooms

According to Sotlar, the museum space agreement would be similar to one the district has with the Barber Museum and could be brought before the board for action during its December meeting.

“I like the project,” said Board President Kevin Butler. “I think it’s a good idea, especially with us being so close to downtown. I think working with the historical society would be a win for our district.”

CW Schools’ finances
Canal Winchester Schools Treasurer Nick Roberts presented a five-year forecast update outlining projected revenue and expenditures through 2026. He said state funding in 2021, approximately a 50/50 split with the local share, makes up a substantial portion of the district’s revenue.

“A big piece of our revenue is real estate taxes,” said Roberts, who indicated for fiscal year 2021, the number is 31.5 percent. In 2026, it jumps slightly to 32.1 percent. “It’s very mild growth, but it shows the district is growing. We continue to bring in new houses and property values have increased tremendously.”

However, the increase is value does not translate to a big increase in revenue.

“As values increase, we do pick up a little bit of money from that,” said Roberts. “Income tax is one of our biggest growth (areas).”

In 2021, the district received nearly $5.5 million in income tax revenue. It is projected to reach $7.1 million in 2026. As for expenditures, in 2021, the total was $45 million and estimated at $56.8 million in 2026.

“Expenditures are the cost of doing business,” said Roberts. “Salary and benefits make up 74 percent. Expenditures last year (for supplies and materials) were dramatically down because of COVID, but now we’re back up.”

In 2020, supplies and materials cost the district $1.9 million. In 2021, it was $1.7 million, which was close to 2018 levels. In 2026, the amount is projected to exceed $2 million. The biggest reason for the 2021 drop was much lower bus fuel costs by not providing as much transportation.

COVID update
The first two weeks in November saw a continuing decline in COVID numbers. Sotlar said there were six student cases reported during the period, which he felt was a trend in the right direction.

A determination of which COVID phase the district will be in during December will be made at the end of November after the Thanksgiving break.

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