By Linda Dillman
Addressing the school district’s response to growth is the mission of a new Canal Winchester Local Schools committee.
On Aug. 15, Canal Winchester Board of Education President Kevin Butler said the district set up the Capital Project Committee because of growth and a need to be flexible with facilities. Board members David George and Vangela Davis were appointed as representatives on the new committee.
“We need classroom space and looking at our facilities as we continue to grow as a district,” said Butler, “so we can be proactive as far as future projects. It’s the reason why we are choosing to move in this direction.”
When asked about the make-up of the committee, George said over the next month he and Davis plan to solicit input from school administrators and go from there in building the committee.
“It will be inclusive of all of the interested parties in the district, including parents,” said George.
Other CW Schools news
•Board member Matt Krueger lauded the district’s administrative team for doing a “great job” in keeping a full staff roster and not being in a desperate hiring process.
“Kudos for retaining good people and finding good people to keep those numbers as close as we can to filled, said Krueger.
•Superintendent Kiya Hunt reported several of the building administrators spent time over the summer interviewing people and filling positions for the 2022-23 school year. She said during staff orientation, just under 60 new employees—from bus drivers to teachers—attended the session.
“We have some work to do to keep people in the district,” added Treasurer Nick Roberts.
•Roberts briefed the board on a resolution to apply to the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program (CFAP) with the OFCC to be added to a funding list and to participate in the Expedited Local Partnership Program (ELPP) with the OFCC.
“This is simply getting back in line to the CFAP,” Roberts reported of the co-funding program that covers 31 percent of any new addition or re-build, “when money is available. “They’re telling me it’s at least four years before we would even be considered. That’s why I wanted to get back on the list at this point. We know a possible two-grade-level (project) is in the future. Four to seven years would probably be our window for that.”
Since the district cannot tap into CFAP funding until it becomes available, in the mean time the schools can participate in the ELPP that gives Canal Winchester credit for approved projects that meet the programs standards.
The credit would then be applied to CFAP when funding windows open and the 31 percent earned back by the district. According to Roberts, all of Canal Winchester’s previous ELPP funding was used up on the high school project.
Expanding cafeteria space
By Linda Dillman
Facing multiple lunch periods that stretch throughout the school day and a desire to offer full day kindergarten at Indian Trail Elementary finds the Canal Winchester Board of Education potentially tapping into the general fund to pay for the improvements without going to taxpayers.
“We’ve been talking over the last couple of months in doing an addition to either the middle school or Indian Trail or adding to food service,” said Treasurer Nick Roberts during the board’s Aug. 15 meeting. “We’ve talked about a bunch of options, but I think what we’ve landed on is we have to do something at the middle school with the cafeteria space. Lunch starts at 9:30 in the morning because we do not have the space to house that many students.”
Roberts said the district is proposing a 2,500 square-foot addition that would add seating for another 300 students. If round tables were switched out for rectangular tables, even more seats could be added in cutting down the number of lunch sessions.
According to Roberts, the cost for the addition is approximately $1.3 million and if the board approves the project—which the treasurer said was deemed a simple one similar in scope to the high school media center addition—groundbreaking could take place in spring 2023.
“It’s big enough to fix our current problem, but not so big to have a ton of space later,” said Roberts regarding a potential two-grade building in the future. “For now, the cafeteria is an immediate need. We need to move (on the addition) in the next couple of months. The planning and development takes several months. Certain things need a 10-month lead time.”
Board President Kevin Butler felt it was important for students to have a consistent schedule and felt a 9:30 a.m. lunch session is early. Board member Monika Talley said the middle school addition is a priority she would like to see expedited as much as possible.
Roberts also discussed a $3.9 million companion project rolled into the same request for proposal the district is considering. It would provide an addition at Indian Trail for full-day kindergarten classrooms. By piggybacking the projects, he said the district gets “a lot for the money we want to spend.”
Superintendent Kiya Hunt emphasized funding for the projects would come out of the district’s general fund without going to the taxpayer. She said the administrative team is on board with full day kindergarten at Indian Trail and are excited about the opportunity.
While the district would cover the cost of construction at Indian Trail, salary costs would be offset by state funding and 31 percent of the cost of the project could be credited back by Ohio’s ELPP program.
“This is something—knock on wood—we would have the potential to pay for ourselves with no additional tax dollars,” said Butler.