MP preps to interview architects

The Madison-Plains school board has set Dec. 9 as the day they will interview architects for possible facility upgrades in the district.
At the board’s Nov. 18 meeting, board member Michael Brandt emphasized that the interviews do not mean school officials have chosen a certain option for new or renovated school buildings. It’s just the first step in a process that could involve a shared funding partnership with the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC).

Community and staff input will be a big part of the process, said Superintendent Bernie Hall. Public meetings likely will take place early next year to find out what direction district residents want to head when it comes to new construction. OSFC recommends that districts have an architect on board to attend such meetings.

The board intends to send out a request for proposals, then interview at least three architectural firms on the night of Dec. 9.

This marks the third step in a tentative timeline for facility planning that Hall provided to school board members last week. It started with an outreach meeting with OSFC on Nov. 5. On Nov. 14, a team of five OSFC consultants evaluated the district’s high school, middle school and three elementaries in the areas of health, life safety, structural integrity, and ad-equacy of mechanical and electrical systems. A report is due back to the district “soon,” Hall said.

The rest of the timeline is contingent on community feedback and the election date the board chooses to put a levy on the ballot for the local share of the construction cost. The board must keep Board of Elections filing deadlines in mind, Hall said. The deadline to put a levy on the ballot for a special election next August is April 21. The deadline for the November 2009 ballot is July 21.

School board President Dave Hunter said he wants to form a committee of citizens as soon as possible for input on facilities upgrades. He suggested the com-mittee include township trustees, mayors and other elected officials from the district.

Retention of Students
Chris Clark, principal at the high school, gave a brief overview of a proposal he has to keep more students in the district. His idea is to start an academy that provides an alternative for students who are struggling in the traditional school format or who are near expulsion and thinking of leaving Madison-Plains altogether.

Right now, such students have the option to attend London Academy, Miami Trace Academy, an alter-native school in London, or other similar schools.

Clark said an academy at Madison-Plains would give students another option, as well as keep state funding in the district. Madison-Plains receives approximately $5,600 in state funding for each student it serves. When Madison-Plains students go to other districts through open enrollment or by enrolling in an alternative school, the state funding goes with them to that school.

Clark said Madison-Plains is losing tens of thousands of dollars in state funding to other districts. He is scheduled to give a full presentation on the academy idea at an upcoming school board meeting.

Miscellaneous

With the board’s approval, the district is committed to membership in the South Central Ohio League through June 30, 2015.

The board chose Don Swonger to serve another two years as the Madison-Plains board’s representative on the Tolles Career & Technical school board.

Board member Ken Morlock has been selected to serve on the legislative committee for the Central Region of the Ohio School Boards Association.

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