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Springfield plans to woo former students

2/20/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

LAKEMORE — Springfield Local School District officials are working on a plan that will encourage students who have left the district to go to other schools to come back.

Superintendent Bill Stauffer announced at the Feb. 18 Board of Education meeting the district has created a task force/committee to map out a strategy to encourage these students to return to Springfield Local Schools.

“We offer a great education and extracurriculars in a brand new building,” he said of the district.

During the meeting, Treasurer Chris Adams reported on the impact of Lakemore and Springfield students lost to open enrollment and charter schools.

Adams stated in the 2010-11 school year, the district lost about $1.85 million in open enrollment money that left with students choosing to go to other schools. That number dropped to $1.8 million in 2011-12, increased to almost $1.85 million in 2012-13 and dropped again to $1.75 million in 2013-14.

“This is a good trend,” said Adams of last year’s decrease in open enrollment funds leaving the district.

Adams also reported that in 2010-11, the district lost about $690,000 in funding for students leaving the district to attend charter schools. That number increased to about $710,000 the following year, jumped to $800,000 in 2012-13 and increased dramatically to just under $1 million in 2013-14.

“We are fighting a well-oiled industry,” said Adams of the charter schools.

Stauffer stated the trend for the number of students leaving public schools to go to charter schools is growing.

“There are some legitimate reasons for some students to transfer to these schools, and that move is a good match for them,” he said. “Some do very well.”

Adams added, however, that some students are “bouncing from one charter school to another.”

Stauffer stated the committee, which consists of staff, will explore ways to address the loss of students to other schools and charter schools. He said Tallmadge City Schools officials recently launched a similar effort, but were unsuccessful.

District officials noted Springfield Local Schools offers an online learning program for students looking for an alternative to classroom learning.

Also at the meeting, Stauffer announced the district plans to make up the two days to date they have exceeded in the number of schools days allowed as calamity days beginning June 9.

“We will not use the so-called Blizzard Bags,” he said. “I think it is insulting to think that sending a pile of paperwork home with students is equal to the quality of instruction received by classroom teachers.”

There were also two presentations at the board meeting.

Springfield High School technology teacher Amy Hartman presented information about two computer classes. Hartman told the board she offers a web design class with assistance from The Karcher Group in Green, and a multi-media class with assistance from The Akronist, a citizen journalist group that offers instruction on how to report on events and activities. Hartman said she also offers a one-hour study period after school to help students who do not have access to technology at home.

The Summit County Engineer’s Office also presented a trophy to the district for its first- and second-place finishes in the Engineer’s Office’s Miniature Bridge Building Competition held Jan. 24. It was the second win for the district since 2001, according to district officials.

Thirty teams from 16 Summit County high schools had registered to participate in the event, but a number of them did not make it to the competition due to bad weather, according to Engineer’s Office officials.

In other business, the board approved a memorandum of understanding with the Springfield Local Association of Classroom Teachers (SLACT), creating supplemental contract positions for junior varsity softball and baseball and revamping the track coach positions to create one head coach and three assistants instead of two heads and two assistants.

In addition, Stauffer announced the district is forming a girls soccer team that will begin playing next fall. Previously, girls interested in playing soccer had to join the boys team.

Stauffer said extracurriculars keep students active, engaged and on task in schoolwork.

Also approved was a revision to the Administrative Benefit and Salary Agreement, retroactive to July 1, 2013, to upgrade the salary index of the technology director.

The board also approved:

  • the hiring of a number of unclassified personnel, the awarding of supplemental contracts for spring sports, increasing hours for teaching assistant Tracy Cole from six-and-a-half to seven hours per day, hiring Emily Barry as a full-time teacher and moving Kevin Gorby to Column 3 Step 7 in the salary schedule, retroactive to the beginning of the 2013-14 school year;
  • the school calendar for the next three years. The changes include professional development for teachers to take place during a waiver day and delayed starts for students;
  • an overnight and extended trip for members of the Springfield High School Marching Band and chaperones to perform at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., April 24-27;
  • to increase the hourly pay of all noncertified substitutes and Technical Work Experience (TWE) students to $7.95 in accordance with the new Ohio minimum wage laws, effective Jan. 1; and
  • membership in the Ohio School Boards Association for 2014 at a cost of $5,850.

District officials also announced the planned delayed start for March 10 has been canceled, and the school day will start at its regular time.

The next board meeting is scheduled for March 18 at 6 p.m. in the Community Room of the new Springfield High and Junior High School, located at 1880 Canton Road.

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