By Linda Dillman
The Reynoldsburg Board of Education is reviewing a proposed transportation agreement with Franklin University.
Reynoldsburg eSTEM Academy Principal Scott Bennett updated the board at its March 14 meeting on the district’s College Credit Plus program and the proposed transportation agreement.
Students enrolled in CCP attend high school and take college courses from colleges and/or universities. Taking a CCP course from a public college or university is free and covered by the district, which means no cost to the student for tuition, books or fees. However, students are responsible for their own transportation to and from college.
Reynoldsburg City Schools offers college classes to high school students with several college partners, including Columbus State Community College, Harrison College and Central Ohio Technical College.
Students are not limited to specific public colleges or universities and may take almost any course for which they are ready, earning both college and high school credit. The college determines readiness for specific courses, usually through a placement exam.
“We began taking with Franklin University in fall 2015 and with Otterbein University in spring 2016,” Bennett said. “Transportation to college and university is a fairly new idea.”
While Bennett said Otterbein is not interested at this time in a transportation agreement, Franklin University is willing to exchange transportation for a limited number of students for a $27,000 Frasch Hall lease agreement with the district.
If the number of students exceeds capacity for one bus, lease costs for the district increase accordingly and max out at $108,000 for 250 students.
In fiscal year 2016, the CCP program cost Reynoldsburg $253,000 for tuition and books. For fiscal year 2017, the estimated cost is $620,000.
“Certainly, providing equal access to opportunities is important and if we provide transportation to one place, we need to provide it to others,” said board member Neal Whitman.
Whitman recommended discussing the transportation proposal with the board’s policy committee before taking any action.
Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning said there are too many unknowns at this time to make a decision and challenged the board to look at other more immediate needs.
•After reading a resolution of support for the city of Reynoldsburg’s collaborative effort with the YMCA to construct a community center in Reynoldsburg, Whitman and board member Elaine Tornero questioned the board’s support of a city income tax issue connected with the project.
The May ballot issue is seeking voter approval to increase income tax from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent to construct the 52,000-square-foot facility at the site of the old Reynoldsburg Swim Center and fund other city improvements.
“There are myriad opportunities we can explore,” said board member Debbie Dunlap. “The opportunities are so great.”
While fellow board members did not dispute the benefits of the project, Tornero and Whitman questioned if a board-supported resolution is appropriate for the tax issue and were the lone two dissenting votes against the resolution, which passed by a majority vote.
•Members of American Legion Post 798 are undertaking a renovation to a memorial dedicated to Reynoldsburg graduates who passed away while serving on active duty in the five branches of the service.
The memorial is located in front of the Livingston Avenue high school campus and was originally dedicated in 2008. The proposed $20,000 expansion includes a six-sided obelisk with names inscribed on the sides, flagpoles set at each entrance side, landscaping and subtle lighting.
Memorial brick pavers at $100 each can be purchased to honor any veteran who attended Reynoldsburg High School and/or lived in the city. The post hopes to begin construction at the end of the present school term and have it completed before the next school year begins. A fund drive kicks off in April.