Norton board OKs purchase of property
The Norton City Schools Board of Education approved the roughly $1.1 million purchase of five parcels totaling 37 acres located along South Cleveland-Massillon Road at the Aug. 20 meeting.
“I’ve been in the district for five years, but for the better part of two decades Norton City Schools has sought additional property,” said Superintendent Dave Dunn. “I’m extremely pleased that tonight we can transition to a focus of providing appropriate facilities and spaces for the students of this district. I want to thank all members of the community and the Board of Education.”
A press release issued by district officials regarding the purchase stated, “As a result of planning and saving permanent improvement funds, the district will not need to borrow to make the purchase or ask for additional funds. Permanent improvement funds cannot be used for operational costs. With the purchase of additional property, the district has assured a long time presence in Downtown Norton with sufficient space to meet both immediate and future needs.”
Board of Education Vice President Cindy Webel said the topic of purchasing property was front and center when she was elected to office in 1998.
“It’s a very exciting time for Norton Schools,” said board member Jennifer Bennett. “The board has spent a lot of time going over this issue and trying to make the best decision for the students. We listened to the voice of the community. We feel we’ve made the best decision for Norton students. We’re excited.”
Board Member Pat Santelli said the purchase of property was paramount in regards to opening a new building or buildings in the future. He said the board is set to begin a discussion with the community about its plans in the near future.
Also during the meeting:
• Norton Director of Pupil Services Gwenn Spence offered a district report regarding the gifted program.
“One of the programs I oversee — and unlike some of the other programs, such as special education — that does not come with mandates by law but does have a number of things the [Ohio Department of Education] likes us to consider is identification of gifted students,” Spence said. “Many times it begins with referral from students, teachers and parents. Many times students who are gifted in the fine arts will ask for further recognition because that may help them with college entrance.”
She said in the Norton City School District, students are screened in the fifth grade with the CogAT Test (Cognitive Abilities Test) in creative thinking ability, math, reading and cognition. Spence discussed the many facets of the program.
• Norton High School Principal Ryan Shanor took the board on a field trip of sorts one room over from the library to visit a new science lab, which was built by the maintenance staff. It will open next week when school starts.
• Dunn used his Superintendent’s Report portion of the meeting to remind people that school is close to being back in session.
“This time of the year we have all of our fall sports teams and activities in full swing,” Dunn said. “Get out and support [the students]. I’d also like to thank the maintenance and custodial staff for getting things ready for what promises to be a great year.”
Added Santelli, “I was in three of the buildings over the summer and am very impressed with the work they’ve got done this year. The buildings look wonderful.”
The next school board meeting is set for Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Norton High School Library, 4128 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road.
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