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Akron school board bids farewell to Baylor

3/14/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Becky Tompkins

Akron Public Schools (APS) Board of Education member Ginger Baylor has resigned from the board, having accepted a job in the office of U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-District 11).

Baylor has served on the board since January 2010, chairing the Finance and Capital Management Committee and serving as liaison to the Ohio School Boards Association.

At the March 11 board meeting, board President Jason Haas thanked Baylor, saying she had “served the APS with distinction and integrity.”

Baylor, in turn, thanked the board and all the APS staff, saying, “I am so blessed to have served with such a great group of people.”

Haas announced applications, letters of interest and résumés are being accepted to fill the remainder of Baylor’s term. The deadline to apply is today, March 14, at the Sylvester Small Administration Building or by emailing Haas at jhaas@akron.k12.oh.us.

Interviews with applicants will take place March 18, Haas said, and they hope to have a new member selected by the next board meeting, March 25.

Also at the meeting, a group of International Baccalaureate (IB) students from Firestone High School presented a summary of a culminating science project they were required to do for their IB diploma.

Part of the project requirement, according to Firestone physics teacher Chris Milcetich, was to present their results to a community group, so they chose the school board.

The project had to include all the sciences at Firestone — biology, chemistry and physics — but the students also researched polymer sciences to build a bench that will be placed at the new Firestone Community Learning Center (CLC), when it is built, said Milcetich.

Project leader Amelia Britton and four other students explained the process. They researched which polymers would best withstand rain, snow, ice and high temperatures and also never need refinishing.

After choosing the material, they designed the bench using physics and math to determine how much weight it could hold. They researched, designed and built it themselves, the students said.

In other business, Assistant Superintendent Ellen McWilliams announced the district was preparing to request money from its Race to the Top federal school improvement grant program administered by the Ohio Department of Education for computer equipment “to gear up for the online assessments” that are being mandated by the state of Ohio.

Along with the new Common Core standards and new school and district report cards being phased in to meet state requirements, student assessment also will change. Instead of paper tests, students will need to take tests online, and the APS needs more computers for children to practice test taking, McWilliams said.

Board member Lisa Mansfield asked whether the district was going to get any help from the state for the online testing.

McWilliams answered, “We don’t see anything [funding] for technology coming yet, so we’re going ahead with the Race to the Top requests.”

In building news, it was announced that during the demolition of Litchfield Middle School, some contaminated soil was found at the site.

APS Director of Facility Planning and Capital Improvements Paul Flesher said a patch of “weathered gasoline” was found. The board approved a purchase order not to exceed $18,750 to cover the cost of the investigation and remedial action that will be needed.

The funds will come from the 59 percent state-funded (Ohio School Facilities Commission) and 41 percent locally funded (city income tax) building fund that is paying for the district-wide rebuilding program, Flesher said.

Another purchase order was approved, not to exceed $18,750, for remedial work on the membrane air barrier being used in the construction of the new King CLC.

Flesher said they anticipate that part or all of the charges will be paid by the contractor, if the problem is found to be contractor oversight.

The board also approved textbook adoptions for numerous career education courses of study. These include medical technology diagnostic and biomedical, commercial art and graphic arts, animal management (veterinary assisting), cosmetology, dental assisting and fire/EMT.

The board’s next meeting is set for March 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Sylvester Small Administration Building, 70 N. Broadway St. in Downtown Akron.

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