CW Schools say farewell to Sotlar; plus other school news

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

During his last Canal Winchester Board of Education meeting as superintendent, Jim Sotlar, said it has been a pleasure to serve the district.

“It’s been an outstanding career,” Sotlar said. “It’s been bittersweet knowing that I won’t have this going into the new year.”

Kiya Hunt, Canal Winchester Schools assistant superintendent since 2014, is expected to become the district’s next superintendent.

“I know I am leaving the district in good hands,” said Sotlar. “We have a truly amazing staff. My affection for Canal Winchester Schools will never diminish and I’ll still be around. Make it a great day or not…the choice is yours.”

Board President Kevin Butler presented Sotlar with a framed baseball jersey with the number 10, signifying the number of years the superintendent served in the district.

“We know 10 years is a long time,” said Butler. “Obviously, he made a big impact on the district.”

Other CW Schools news
•The board approved an agreement with the Fairfield County Educational Service Center for school psychologist services for the 2022-23 school year.

Fairfield County will fill the position on a fulltime basis for 205 days, of which 82 days are assigned to Canal Winchester beginning Aug. 1 and ending July 31, 2023. The district will reimburse the center for the district’s percentage of the contract plus a five percent administrative fee.

The estimated total cost of Canal Winchester’s portion of the agreement is $45,200 and evaluation of the person hired for the position is the shared responsibility of both the district and the county service center.

“Typically, we will go through the Franklin County Educational Service Center,” Hunt said. “However, they were unable to find us those services. We got lucky through Fairfield County and they were able to find the additional services we will need.”

•Canal Winchester Schools Treasurer Nick Roberts gave an update on the close of Canal Winchester’s fiscal year status, including a report of the Capital Spending Plan.

The school district does not have a dedicated tax levy and/or millage for capital expenditures.

An OFCC construction project at the high school facility started in fiscal year 2017 and, as part of the project, the district transferred $7.5 million from the general fund for the local share of the project.

According to Roberts, the district was also required to levy a half-mill tax for 23 years to maintain the new and renovated facility. However, the district met this requirement without levying new taxes by transferring inside millage.

The annual amount allocated for the maintenance requirement is $208,380.
Capital Spending Plan short-term land improvement projects include paving the parking lot at the middle school and auxiliary gym, along with the playground at the elementary schools; replacing the turf and track at the high school stadium; replace/renovate the press box and update the bleachers for ADA compliance.

Building improvements include roofing projects on the high school’s lower and gym roofs, replacing high school gym equipment, installation of a new turf training area and construction of an addition to the maintenance barn.

The list of technical and capitalized equipment projects includes updating the public address systems at the elementary and middle schools, new copiers, an update of the district’s networking configuration, replacement of the ice and water dispenser at the operations center, a new carpet cleaner and a new Gator vehicle for middle school athletics.

New vehicles and buses are also a part of the short-term plan. The district received a $156,299 school bus grant to assist with the purchase of three new buses.

The Capital Spending Plan Long-Term Project wish list includes additions to the middle school—such as a new gymnasium that would also function as a multi-purpose space— and new classrooms to address overcrowding due to potential enrollment increases.

Roberts anticipates the additions would minimally increase operational costs with no staff being added.

Additions are also on the long-term list for kindergarten at either of the elementary schools to accommodate full day sessions, along with a new dedicated performing arts center space at the high school.

A new intermediate building for students in grades 4-6 would help reduce enrollment numbers at the middle school and Winchester Trail. However, according to Roberts, a new building would severely increase operational costs with a need to add additional staff: teaching, administrative, custodial, and secretarial.

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