New school OK sent to state ahead of vote


By Laurie Hamame - lhamame@aimmediamidwest.com



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The green light for a PK-12 Oberlin City Schools campus has been sent to Columbus, but that doesn’t mean the board of education is locked into any agreement or plan yet.

The notification was sent to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to meet a deadline, superintendent David Hall said.

“If we want to put something in the ballot in November, we had to take this step to keep ourselves in the process,” he said.

The board will vote on finalized plans in May and a second vote will be taken to solidify the decision.

Two study sessions were held in March and April to explore about 11 different master plans, but the discussion on building a new school has been going on for about a decade now.

Board president Anne Schaum said it’s critical to have community members engaged in the conversation because they “need to be ambassadors” for what the board ultimately decides.

Currently, the district is maintaining five separate buildings, including the Pleasant Street School, with fewer than 1,000 kids in attendance, Schaum said. The four buildings that operate as schools each have an administrator, staff members, and custodians.

The board has argued that a one-building campus would save about $1 million per year by consolidating some of those personnel costs, as well as making utilities and operations more efficient.

Board member Jason Williams also argued the current state of facilities sends a negative message to some students. He pointed to other schools in Lorain County that have brand new buildings or renovated facilities.

He said students must return from athletic trips and wonder why they aren’t valued enough to have top-notch buildings.

Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.

Schaum
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Hall
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Williams
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By Laurie Hamame

lhamame@aimmediamidwest.com