By Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Madison Board of Education voted to appropriate approximately $1 million to expand the district’s School Improvement Program and Services plan.
The program, which is entering its second year, is part of an approximately $7 million, five year student achievement plan to address the academic needs of students at all grade levels.
“Financially, we can do this,” said Groveport Madison Treasurer John Walsh. “A lot of what’s being added is people and people are your biggest cost.”
Items approved to be implemented in 2016-17 include:
•adding two more gifted intervention specialists to the gifted program at a cost of $164,000;
•expanding tutoring in grades 3-9 at a cost of $248,506;
•increasing special education staffing per enrollment including a behavioral specialist at a cost of $78,040;
•adding a high school/middle school counselor to coordinate social services and counseling curriculum alignment district wide at a cost of $94,320;
•technology upgrades at a cost of $234,000, which will pay for training and purchasing/licensure expenses over the next three years; and
•increasing student support services to help students receive more educational and counseling support outside of school to better get on track in the classroom at a cost of $182,000.
“It is our intentions that the choices made will help students from all buildings continue to move forward and make sustainable progress,” said Groveport Madison Superintendent Bruce Hoover.
Not included in the improvements was the proposed creation of a public preschool in the district, which had an estimated cost of $1.8 million.
According to Groveport Madison Schools spokesman Jeff Warner, board members are interested in creating a public preschool, but not at this time because there is not enough funding for it, nor are the district’s existing facilities able to handle a preschool.
“The cost was too high,” said Warner. “If the district created a preschool at this time there wouldn’t have been the money available to do the other enhancements to the School Improvement Program and Services plan. Also, we don’t have the facilities for it as our buildings are already overcrowded.”
The proposed preschool would have required: the hiring of six teachers and a preschool coordinator; financing 12 bus routes to bring the kids to and from preschool; and purchasing or leasing modular classrooms possibly to be set up at each of the district’s elementary schools to house the preschool program. The public preschool would have offered half day options with morning and afternoon sessions.