Middle school on June 5 agenda

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At 6 p.m. June 5, Chris Colotto of Resource International will explain the timeline and requirements for London City Schools to proceed with their plans to build a new middle school. The school board encourages the public to attend the special meeting, which will take place in the high school lecture hall.

The school district has opted to take the “fast track” to receive money from the Ohio School Facilities Commission for the construction project. The district must submit an updated master plan to the state by the first week of September in order for state funds to be released by November.

For the “fast track” option to be feasible, the school district and City of London must reach an agreement on a land swap in which the schools would trade the Walnut Street property for acreage located across from the high school/elementary school complex.

At the London Board of Education meeting on May 19, Superintendent Steve Allen said the city’s assessors are scheduled to look at the Walnut Street property by the end of the month.

Board member Eric Schooley suggested that the district have a “Plan B” in case the land issue is not resolved by the September deadline. He said the facilities committee should meet once more. Allen said the likely “Plan B” would be to wait one year before starting the state funding process.

Teacher contracts

The board and the London Education Association have completed contract negotiations. The result is a 2 percent raise for teachers each of the next three years. Adjustments were made to the salary index, but no changes were made to benefits.

Preliminary test scores

Allen reported that all of the district’s third- through eighth-grade students with severe special needs passed the Ohio Achievement Test. According to preliminary results, the majority of the 21 students passed at the accelerated or advanced levels.

Graduation complaint

Judy Dunkley asked the board to allow her daughter, a senior at the high school, to participate in graduation ceremonies on June 1. Board President Nancy Smith said the school district and state law require students to pass all parts of the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) in order to graduate.

Dunkley’s daughter has completed all requirements for graduation except passing one portion of the OGT. She is set to take the test again on June 13 and start college at Columbus State on June 30. Smith said the board must abide by state law.

Mrs. Dunkley said she was not satisfied with that answer. She contends that her daughter did not receive adequate intervention in math to pass the math portion of the OGT.

Instant Alert System

The superintendent has been searching for a company that can provide the school district with an instant alert system to automatically notify parents by phone and/or e-mail of emergency and non-emergency situations.

Representatives of Security Voice Inc., a Columbus company that specializes in instant alert systems, demonstrated their services at the May 19 school board meeting.

They explained that OneCall Connect, their Internet-based program, would be integrated with the school district’s existing student information database. Up to six phone numbers can be assigned to each student, which would accommodate home, mobile and work phone numbers for parents and guardians. Also, parents would be able to submit up to five e-mail addresses.

OneCall Connect can make 5,000 to 8,000 calls per minute. Instant reports show which parents were reached and when.

The annual cost to the district would be $2 to $2.40 per student; London City Schools is home to about 2,000 students.

Security Voice also offers Safe School Helpline, a tipline by which students and parents can anonymously report information to district officials.

“Most districts get three to five calls per year, but if it’s one call that prevents a big thing from happenings, it’s worth it,” said Jay Morgan of Security Voice.

At one time, London City Schools had a contract with Security Voice for the Safe School Helpline service. When the state made cuts in the education budget, many schools dropped the service; London was among them.

If London signs on with Security Voice again, the cost for the instant alert and helpline services as a bundle would be $6,000 to $7,000 per year, Allen said.

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