2009-02-14 / Schools

School district discussing land purchase

By Charles Prince

BALTIMORE - Superintendent Paul Mathews is discussing the purchase of a one fourth to one third acre tract of land from Faith Lutheran Church. Purchase of the "small corner" would allow the new middle school to be constructed closer to the elementary school and the district's northern property line with the church.

"That really reduces the cost of bringing utilities to the site," Mathews explained Monday night. It also minimizes the new school's encroachment onto the land lab.

Mathews told board members that it's difficult to value the land. It doesn't have road frontage, yet the church's mortgage holder may be reluctant to allow the sale. "They've (Faith Lutheran) been good neighbors," he added. "Hopefully we can come to some mutual terms."

Mathews also reported that he is meeting this week with Village of Baltimore representatives to discuss water and drainage issues, sewer taps, traffic flow and permits/variances. The district is still considering geothermal heating and cooling to reduce utility costs. The first step is to drill a five inch diameter test well 300 feet deep. That well will be used to measure the heat transfer rate which will determine how many wells will be needed. The number of wells required will determine whether the project is feasible. The test well should be drilled this month.

Board members also unanimously approved a revised 2009/2010 school year schedule to accommodate the renovation of the high school. "We need to get students out early and start late," Mathews explained. "We need a long summer."

The first day of school will be Wednesday, August 19. Freshman orientation is at 7 p.m. on Aug. 12. The county fair break will be Oct. 12 - 16. Thanksgiving break is Nov. 26 - 27. Winter break is Dec. 21 through Jan. 1. Spring break is Friday, April 2 and Mon- day, April 5. The last day for students is May 28. Graduation is Sunday, May 30. If make-up days are needed, the first make-up day will be April 5. Thereafter, days will be added to the end of the school year.

District Treasurer David Butler had some good news for board members. He said state officials had advised school district to expect flat or declining revenue from district income taxes. Quarterly payments for Liberty Union were up "a little over two percent," Butler said. That puts the district about $53,000 ahead of projected income tax revenue this fiscal year, but it still trails last year's collections that were bolstered by the receipt of some past due taxes.

High principal Ed Miller reported on the Ohio Core Curriculm which will first apply to the Class of 2014. The goal is to better prepare students for college and the work force. For college students, that means reducing the amount spent for remedial programs in college.

All graduates must have:

• 4 units of English;

• 4 units of math which means all students will have to take Algebra II;

• 3 units of science including one in physcial science, one in biology and one in advanced science such as chemistry or physics;

• 3 units of social studies including .5 unit of American History, .5 unit of American Government and instruction in financial literacy

• .5 unit of heath; • .5 unit of physical education;

• 5 units of electives; and

• 2 semesters of fine arts during grades 7-12.

"This is a work-in-progress," Miller added.

Two straight-A students were honored as students-of-the month for February. Freshman Sarah Klopfer, daughter of Jeff and Lisa Klopfer, is a varsity softball player. Sophomore Taylor Matthews, daughter of Mark and Chris Matthews, runs track and cross country. She is also a student council member.

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