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Norton district readying bond issue for November

6/20/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

At the June 17 meeting, the Norton City Schools Board of Education approved a resolution declaring it necessary to place a 36-year, $22.8 million bond issue to help fund a building project on the Nov. 5 General Election ballot.

If approved, the district plans to build a new high school and demolish Cornerstone and Grill elementary schools for around $32 million, according to district officials.

Plans are for the current high school to house junior high students and for the current middle school to become an elementary school.

The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) would contribute $16.3 million, making the local share $15.7 million, according to district officials.

Also, the board has determined to supplement the OSFC project with around $7 million in locally funded initiatives (LFIs), according to the resolution.

The LFIs are for the “nonacademic” portions of the project the OSFC doesn’t provide contributions for, including a new stadium and auditorium attached to the new high school, as well as improvements to the land needed to accomplish those things, according to Treasurer Stephanie Hagenbush.

The board’s action will have the Summit County Fiscal Office certify the total tax valuation of the district and the estimated average annual property tax levy, according to the resolution.

Hagenbush said current estimates are for a 3.89-mill bond issue. In July, the board will vote again to have the question to voters placed on the ballot, she added.

The last time the district had a bond issue on the ballot was in August 2010, when voters defeated a third attempt that would have seen the construction of a new high school and improvements to other district facilities.

In other business, no one spoke during a brief public hearing designed for members of the public to provide input on the re-employment of Sharon Herchik, director of curriculum and testing. Superintendent David Dunn said Herchik intends to retire and seek re-employment.

Among the superintendent’s recommendations, the board approved a two-year administrative contract for Wendy Minnè, starting Aug. 1, as the new principal of Norton Primary School. Minnè has been with the district more than nine years, she said, having worked as an elementary and middle school intervention specialist, as well as a fifth-grade teacher, teacher of a fifth/sixth grade combined classroom and for the past three years, a seventh-grade teacher.

Other new hires included Jason Genis as physical education teacher at Norton Middle School and Shawn Rabatin as a vehicle mechanic helper.

The resignation of Bill Vaill, high school language arts teacher, this month, also was approved.

“Congratulations to Bill on being retired. He has done an outstanding job for us,” said Dunn.

“He’s a great role model for other teachers,” added board member Pat Santelli.

In other business, the board approved a donation from Discovery Education to Norton High School on behalf of Shelley Christoff, high school science teacher, of 20 laptops/tablets, a document camera, a set of student response devices, three wireless access points, a printer and $5,000 in digital media content. The donation amounts to about $40,000 in equipment won through a national contest Christoff entered nearly daily, according to Angie Wagler, director of technology.

In other action, the board:

  • approved an amended and restated agreement regarding the health benefits program of the Summit Regional Health Care Consortium;
  • adopted end-of course examinations for high school American history and American government;
  • approved science textbooks, modules and materials for grades kindergarten through eight; and
  • approved a technology acceptable-use policy for students.

Also at the meeting, Santelli said the levy committee is gearing up. Individuals may purchase dedication bricks for the stadium project, he said, which start at $100. For questions, contact Santelli at 330-825-7583 or psantelli@nortonschools.org.

The next Committee-of-the-Whole meeting is scheduled for July 8 at 6 p.m. at the Administration Building, 4128 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, and the next regular school board meeting is set for July 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Norton High School Media Center, 4108 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road.

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