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Local Medina County News

Black River plans for the future

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    Black River Superintendent Chris Clark



SULLIVAN TWP. — With a successful November levy campaign now in its rearview mirror, Superintendent Chris Clark said Black River Schools can prepare for the future.

Clark said he appreciates the community’s support of the district’s 1.4 mill permanent improvement levy that generates about $313,000 a year. Homeowners pay $49 a year per $100,000 of valuation.

“One of the things that we had discussed, if the district did pass a levy, that we would talk about doing some strategic planning in the district,” Clark said during Thursday’s board of education meeting.

Clark said a new strategic plan would be a major investment for the district of roughly 1,200 students that touches parts of Medina, Ashland and Lorain counties.

Board member Dan Sexton asked how much a new comprehensive plan would cost the district.

“Anywhere between five and seven thousand dollars probably,” Clark said. “It might be a little more than that.”

Clark said there are multiple ways to go about developing a comprehensive plan that would see the district through the next five to seven years.

“We typically have an independent firm here,” Clark said. (The Ohio School Board Association) has about two or three different ways they would want to do that.”

Clark said if the board elects to move forward with an updated comprehensive plan, that input from the community would be a welcome part of the process.

The planning process would most likely involve a combination of mailers, polls and focus groups, Clark said.

“All the people are doing is, they are basically going to put their cards on the table, what they think of things,” Clark said. “They are going to say the negative, they are going to say the positive, but (the purpose) there is to get that information.”

Clark said the district can then take a look at all the data to determine the best path moving forward.

While no action regarding the plan was taken during the meeting, Clark said he would provide board members with additional information before it meets again in January.

“The one nice thing is, since I have been here, this is probably the first time that we have been able to sit and say we actually get to start planning and phasing something in rather than being behind the eight-ball,” Clark said.

Clark said the district also has plans in place to upgrade the electrical system at Black River High School in anticipation of the installation of new HVAC units.

“We want to be able to deliver enough electricity here in this building and then sink it underground,” Clark said.

Clark said this would allow for the utility poles to be removed from school grounds, which pose an issue with the planned resurfacing of the high school parking lot, a part of a five-year capital improvement plan approved by the district earlier this year.

“When we do any construction work as far as paving or removing of pavement, a lot of the electric lines, especially over on the eastern side of the high school, they have got to come down because they can’t get semis and scrapers up high enough when they are scraping,” Clark said.

Clark said that forces the district to pay a higher bid price for construction work because a paving company is forced to use smaller heavy equipment.

Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at

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