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Home schooled students may get part-time privileges

BALTIMORE – Home schooled students in grades 7- 12 may be able to enroll in the Liberty Union Thurston School District on a part-time basis if school board members next month approve an option suggested by Superintendent Paul Mathews to the board’s Home Instruction policy.

Parents of two students asked board members to review the policy which currently doesn’t permit part-time participation.

Mathews’ suggestions reads, “Students in grades 7-12 who are excused from attendance at school by reason of home instruction in accordance with the State Board of Education Regulations may enroll in the District on a part-time basis. Such students, who maintain enrollment in at least two “core” academic courses, are eligible to participate in any of the student services, programs or activities of the District. (Note: Students participating in school athletic programs or teams must also comply with all Ohio High School Athletic Association guidelines, including eligibility regulations and bylaws.)”

A parent asked Mathews at Monday night’s board meeting why he limited the change to students in grades 7 -12. Participation in school sports begins in the seventh grade and that’s when all courses are departmentalized, he explained. He believed it would be too complicated to allow part-time participation in grade levels taught by a single teacher.

“It is a step,” board member Shaun Hochradel said.

“We can see how it goes,” Mathews added. “If it is a few students, I don’t see where it is a problem.”

Final action on this policy and several others were on Monday night’s agenda, but board member John Hutton asked for more time to review Mathew’s suggestion. Members unanimously tabled action on all the policies on this month’s agenda until their August 8 meeting.

In other business Monday night, district treasurer David Butler said real estate tax revenues for the recent school year were up slightly, and district income tax revenues exceeded his estimate but were still well below the high set in 2008. Personal property tax revenue also declined.

Board members also unanimously approved a $210,087 contract with Layton, Inc. of Newark to construct a left hand turn lane on southbound Ohio 158 into the elementary/middle school complex. Architect Joe Schappa said Layton would be given a notice to proceed on July 12. “They are ready to go.”

Work continues on the new middle school. It is almost completely closed in, Schappa reported. Monday afternoon’s strong winds and rain resulted in some leaks. Schappa said the school’s geothermal based new air conditioning system is working “amazingly well.”

August 1 is the next critical date which is set for the life safety inspection. He said more tradespeople are still needed on the job.

Construction of the earthen pad for the new district administrative building behind the elementary school has started. All the contracts for the $503,396 project have been signed.

Plans for the new district maintenance building have been revised and are now being reviewed by Baltimore officials. Once the revised plans are approved that project will be let to bid.

Board members made several personnel changes at two recent special meetings and Monday night.

Megan L. Gonzalez was hired as a high school foreign language teacher. The Ohio University graduate will teach Spanish.

Board members accepted vocational agriculture teacher Laura Hornbeck’ s resignation. She will be replaced by OSU graduate Jena L. Friesner. Jerry W. Jacobs will teach high school math and physics. He is a Bowling Green State University and Ashland University graduate. Lisa J. Ruff will be a high school intervention specialist. She is an Ohio University graduate. Board members also accepted information technology teacher Charlotte Muesegaes’ resignation.

The board’s next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, August 8 in the high school library.

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