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Liberty Union to break ground for new school

BALTIMORE – It took a couple of months to work out, but in the end it only cost the Liberty Union school district $1,000 to buy a .401 acre parcel from Faith Lutheran Church.

The purchase allows the new middle school to be located closer to the current elementary school and reduces the cost to extend utilities to the new school and manage surface water. The deal was done last month, but it was tabled at last month’s meeting when board member John Hutton couldn’t attend. With two board members abstaining as Faith Lutheran members. the remaining three board members had to be present to formally approve the purchase.

Bids for site preparation should go out soon. Bids for the rest of the construction and renovation of the high school should be out in early July. The Village of Baltimore has issued a permit for the high school project and the district expects to apply for the middle school permit this week.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new middle school is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, July 13. The board will be meeting at the Land Lab, just south of the elementary school, that evening and will walk over for the ceremony before their regular monthly meeting.

Board members had a large recognition agenda Monday night. Senior Max Cothrel and Junior Mary Mandeville were the June Students-of-the-Month. Cothrel is the son of Steve Cothrel and Michelle Morrone. Cothrel earned straight A’s for his entire high school career. He will be attending Ohio University’s Honors College as a journalism student. Mary Mandeville is the daughter of Joe Mandeville. Her activities include varsity softball and serving as president of the National Honor Society.

Tim Turner, middle and high school vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, was selected as June’s Teacher-ofthe Month by his fellow teachers. May’s Teacher-of-the-Month – Emily Fisher, middle and high school music teacher – couldn’t make the meeting to pick up her award.

Board members also honored the varsity softball team as Mid State League Cardinal Division champions and coach Bill Putnam as Mid State League Coachof the-Year. The junior varsity softball and baseball teams were recognized as Mid State League champions. The middle school girls’ track team was honored as Mid State League champions.

Bob Richardson of Hydromaster Seeding Company was thanked for donating a crew and use of its portable sawmill for two days at the district’s Land Lab. His crew cut more than 1,200 board feet of lumber from downed trees, while demonstrating the sawmill to hundreds of students. Some of the lumber will be used in the new middle school.

Last month’s Students-ofthe Month were junior Becca Thompson and sophomore Cam Love. Thompson, the daughter of Dan and Maryann Thompson, is a member of the band, girls’ golf and track teams and the National Honor Society. Love, the son of Brian and Gina Love, is a varsity football player. Klare Williamson was honored for qualifying for the state swim meet. Band director Ben Factor and high school band members were recognized for achieving a Superior rating at the State Concert Band Competition.

Board members approved a long list of supplemental contracts at their May and June meetings. Approvals include:

• Scot Williamson – Athletic Director;

• Ben Factor – Instrumental Music;

• Candy Berry – HS Yearbook Advisor;

• Emily Fisher – HS Vocal Music;

• Cathy Poston – Honor Society Advisor;

• Debbie Young – Knowledge Bowl Coach;

• Dan Johnson – Head Varsity Football;

• Ben Johnson – Assistant Football;

• Ron Owens – Assistant Football;

• Kenny George – MS Head Football;

• Krista Azeltine – Head Volleyball;

• Jim Reed- Head Boys Golf;

• Billy Phillips & Ronald Bibler – Co-JV Boys Golf;

• Jon Morris – Head Cross Country;

• Renee Mangette – MS Cross County;

• Ben Bethel – Head Boys Varsity Basketball;

• Rob Compton – JV Boys Basketball;

• Marcus Alford – MS Wrestling

• Jeff Bader – Varsity Girls Soccer (His salary will be reimbursed by the youth soccer association to help minimize start-up costs for this new high school sport);

• Ashleigh Miller – 7th Grade Volleyball;

• Harold Loyd – Head Girls Golf; and

• Jared Shy – Head Boys Soccer.

Board members also hired Ashleigh Miller Monday night as high school intervention specialist.

Monday night, Superintendent Paul Mathews reviewed the proposed changes to the district’s Athletic Eligibility Policy. It will be on the agenda for action at the July meeting.

The district has two distinct academic eligibility requirement for high school athetes. The Ohio High School Athletic Association requires that a student be currently enrolled in and passing courses equaling five or more credits to be eligible. Liberty Union was checking eligibility ever 4.5 weeks or twice a grading period. OSHAA requires checks every nine weeks.

The more frequent checks were OK for determining ineligibility, but OSHAA won’t allow reinstatement at 4.5 week intervals. The district thought determining ineligibility every 4.5 weeks, while limiting reinstatement to every nine weeks is unfair to its athletes. The new district policy will check compliance at the end of every nine week grading period. The district also has a grade point average standard. Students in grade nine must have a GPA of 1.75 or greater. The minimum GPA increases to 2.0 for students in grades 10 through 12. Since OSHAA doesn’t have a GPA requirement, LIberty Union is free to continue to check GPA eligibility every 4.5 weeks. Athletes can also be reinstated at that interval.

Board members scheduled a special meeting for 7 p.m. on Monday, June 29 in the high school library. The agenda includes an opportunity for public comment and board action on the re-employment of Danny R. Johnson following his retirement.

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