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Finding space new school goal

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Over the past few years Yellow Springs school district leaders have said that the district needs to grow. But with a district population of 710 students this year, the primary issue is not about the number of students, but having enough space for them in the classroom, Superintendent Mario Basora said during the school board meeting Thursday, Aug. 11.

Open enrollment numbers have been the main variable in the student population, which has remained between 707 and 714 since 2008. While the number of local students has stayed below the district’s threshold, the number of open enrollment has made up for the lack of local students, and this year is no exception. The Yellow Springs district accepted 22 new open enrollment students at Mills Lawn, bringing the open enrollment total to 73, and 13 open enrollment students at McKinney/YSHS, bringing the open enrollment total to 52.

The district has the option of declining open enrollment students in order to maintain classroom sizes of less than 25 students. Currently there are 11 students on the open enrollment waiting list who were not accepted into certain classes due to the large size of that particular class. But in order to fill as many classrooms as possible and bring in the revenue the district receives for each open enrollment student, the school benefits by accepting students from outside the district, Basora said, as long as the open enrollment numbers do not exceed 33 percent of the total student body. Currently open enrollment accounts for 17–18 percent of the student population.

With the current ratio of local to open enrollment students, the classroom sizes are pushed to the limits at both Mills Lawn and McKinney/YSHS, according to Basora. The average class size for the kindergarten this year is 18.5 students, 22.5 for first grade, 23 for third grade and 24 for fourth grade. At McKinney/YSHS, while 89 sections remain below 24 students this year, the school has two sections with 30 students or more, while seven sections have 27 students, five have 26 students and three include 25 students. The bottom line, according to Basora, is that in order to accept more open enrollment students to raise revenue for the district, the schools first have to hire more teachers and create more classes in order to support them.

“The issue is not finding kids — it’s finding space for the kids,” he said.

In other school board business:

• McKinney and YSHS Principal Tim Krier reported on new staff members and programs for the coming school year. The school welcomes math and physics teacher Jeff Collins, study hall advisor Paul Comstock, paraprofessional Connie Richeson, counselor Linda Sikes, advanced P.E. instructor Dan West, athletic director Steve Rossi and secretary Julie Lorenzo.

The school will institute a new 30-minute gifted and remedial intervention period at the beginning of each school day. Two staff members have been approved for adjunct professor status through Clark State University to grant dual enrollment credit to students who wish to receive both high school and college credit for classes taken at the high school. The high school is also considering offering flexible credit options for students who wish to enroll in classes outside the high school, such as one of YS Kids Playhouse arts, dance and theater classes.

• The board approved a modification of monthly insurance premium contributions from all district administrative staff. The board-to-employee contribution ratio went from 90 percent–10 percent last year to 85–15 percent this year. Currently all of the district’s staff, from the superintendent to the classified staff, have accepted the new insurance premiums.

• The board accepted the resignation of YSHS girls head soccer coach Angelo Caliguiri and approved the hiring of Sarah Wallis as YSHS girls head soccer coach at a stipend of $3,252. The board also approved the following for substitute teachers, compensated at $80 per day: John Gudgel, Jamie Adoff, Conni Hurley, Margaret Jackson, Shirley Martin, Pegeen Laughlin, John Gill, Tomeshia Johnson-Brown, Sarah Strong, Caitlin O’Dowd, Katherine Robertson, Barbara Nooks, Marian Jensen, Ann Piercy, Joyce Spencer, Ahmad Abdul-Rahim and Wes Mercer.

• The board accepted a donation of 30 desktop computers from the Greene County Career Center.


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