NEW BREMEN – The New Bremen Board of Education approved by a 4 to 1 margin a resolution to enter into a land exchange agreement with Crown Control Corporation during its meeting Wednesday night. The lone dissenting vote was cast by board member Scott Bertke.
After the meeting, Bertke was contacted about his no vote. He said he voted no on the land swap because he felt the school district did not get the best deal they could have.
The agreement has Crown eventually taking possession of property currently occupied by the old elementary school on 202 to 210 S. Walnut St. and the school district taking over two parcels adjacent to the current high school complex on 901 E. Monroe St.
This action makes room for the new elementary school to be built just east of the high school.
Superintendent Jason Schrader said the exchange involves each party receiving roughly 14 acres. The two parcels to be taken over by the school are north and west of the football stadium and another just east of the educational campus. This elementary school project manager to begin grading and other site work on the current Crown property by the high school. As to the old elementary school property on Walnut, Schrader said there will be a 90-day period to complete work on site preparation and environmental surveys, with completion of this phase by September 2018. Thereafter, closure of the deal is expected in Dec. 30, 2018.
The $20 million K-8 building is to be built adjacent to the current high school. The state will cover 28 percent of the project cost, approximately $5.6 million, with the balance of $14.4 million funded locally. Completion is expected by December 2020.
In related news, the Board also passed a resolution approving the schematic design stage for the new PK-8 building, subject to approval by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC). The resolution also approved continued project development of the schematic design state documents by the district’s architect Garmann/Miller and Associates Inc. and the Gilbain Building Company, construction manager for the project.
Schrader also reported that it is necessary to replace a leaking high school water heater at a cost of $46,000. He said the new heater will serve both the current high school building as well as the new PK-8 building currently in the planning stage.
Under Personnel Recommendations, the board accepted the resignations of Adam Dougherty as elementary physical education teacher and Mary Moeller as cafeteria worker. Rob Sniegowski was hired as atransportation supervisor. Jodi Schumm, high school English and language arts teacher had her contract bumped up to full time. Contracts for substitute teachers , bus drivers, cafeteria workers and custodians were also approved.
Under new business, Schrader said the school system accepted a $7,678 quote from Ohio School Plan for liability and violence insurance. He noted there was a .92 percent rate decrease with the same coverage as the previous year.
Many grade 1 to 8 students were honored at the Annual Awards ceremony May 24. Mara Brackman and Nathan Rindler were recipients of the Archie Griffin Sportsmanship award. Other recognitions were for perfect attendance, and improved STAR reading and math scores.
Finally, end of year enrollment figures for the 2017-18 school year showed 764 students in the school system, up from 745 the year before.
End-of-year state test scores for all grades were reviewed.
A high school report on the Spring 2018 state achievement test scores in Language Arts, algebra, geometry, biology, American history and government showed New Bremen students well ahead of state proficiency benchmarks.
In a similar report of K-8 tests of continuous improvement, STARS testing om early literacy, reading and math, also showed improvements in scores. For example, second grade scores in reading showed the percentage of students at or above the benchmark from the beginning to end of the school year improved from 73 percent to 91 percent.
In testing of English language arts, grades 3 to 8, plus freshman and sophomores generally improved over last years scores and easily exceeded state benchmarks. A complete report of all test results will be released on the Ohio Department of Education website in September
The athletic department update for June 2018 said there are currently three sponsors financially supporting the new outdoor scoreboards for baseball, football and softball. Athletic Director Gary Jones said it was hoped that one more sponsor would be found to upgrade baseball and softball scoreboards to show scores by inning. It is planned that the scoreboards be replaced by next spring.
In other athletic department news, it was reported that the main high school gym floor replacement project should be completed by June 22.
The Board then adjourned into executive session, with no action expected to be taken.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.