MEDINA — Superintendent Aaron Sable said Tuesday that he is not about to make a knee-jerk reaction in regard to redistricting students to address overcrowding at some schools.
But some changes might need to be made — even if future plans call for schools to close or new ones to be built.
Some of the elementary schools in the district, most notably Eliza Northrop, Ralph E. Waite and H.G. Blake, are almost bulging at the seams, he said.
Yet, Garfield, Sidney Fenn and Ella Canavan elementary schools all have room for more students.
Nothing is going to happen with Medina Schools until the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission comes to town this summer and evaluates the entire district, including determining how many students are at each school and which buildings need renovation.
“The (OFCC’s) involvement is crucial,” he said.
If it decides construction is needed — the fact that Claggett Middle School students attend classes in trailers really seems to bother Sable, for instance — the OFCC would pay for a percentage of the costs.
Sable said a fifth- and sixth-grade building is possible, along with a seventh- and eighth-grade building. He said they could potentially close a building.
“No decisions have been made,” Sable said. “I’m just throwing out some ideas.”
Serious talks will likely heat up during the 2019-20 school year. However, nothing will happen until the 2020-21 school year at the earliest, Sable said.
Sable said he is well aware that many in the district are not thrilled with the idea of shifting students from one elementary school to another. He said it’s going to be controversial and a “big job.”
“Redistricting stinks,” he said. “Our administration and staff are not for it, either.
“There is such a love and connection with the community schools across the district. There are some passionate Fenn students who want to stay at Fenn.”
To ease some of the “pain,” the redistricting could be done in phases, Sable said.
“It’s important to start this conversation early,” he said.
Sable said overall enrollment is down to about 6,800 students in the district. He said the 2019 senior class will graduate about 600 students. He said in some of the lower grades, there are about 400 students.
His guess is the housing crisis of six or seven years ago might have caused the disparity in the class sizes.
“We’re feeling the impact of that now in terms of student enrollment,” Sable said.
He said there are some potential housing plans that moving forward will impact the schools, such as the 268-home subdivision proposed for Montville Township by Pulte Group.
“How do we plan for that?” Sable asked.
He said there is a link at medinabees.org with an area for questions about redistricting. Sable said he’s called everyone who sent questions to the website for input.
“It’s what’s best for our students,” Sable said.
In other news
- Assistant Superintendent Kris Quallich gave an update on the calamity days remaining for each school in the district. Many of the 11 schools have a different number of days remaining before they’ll have to make up days after the school year is over.
It’s now based on hours and not days, but schools can miss the equivalent of seven calamity days in a school year.
The following are the number of days remaining in each building:
4 days remaining — Blake, Heritage Elementary, Root Middle School, high school and Evolve Academy;
3 days remaining — Canavan, Fenn, Garfield and Claggett;
2 days remaining — Northrop, Waite, Helping Hands Preschool.
“We might have to make up some days,” Quallich said.
- The school board voted 5-0 to approve the purchase of a house at 347 N. Huntington St. for $65,000. Once the paperwork is complete, the school district will swap the 0.629 acres to the city of Medina for the Bowman House, 625 Bowman Lane.
The Bowman House provides life skills for about 20 special-needs students in the district.
The city will demolish the house on North Huntington and expand the parking lot to Ray Mellert Park.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at email@example.com.