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‘We had an exceptional fall’

BALTIMORE – The recognition portion of the Liberty Union-Thurston School Board meeting took almost as long as the business meeting.

“We had an exceptional fall,” Superintendent Paul Mathews said. “It will take us a couple of meetings to catch up with them all.”

Students-of-the-month are Sarah Klopfer and Louisa Jagger. Klopfer is a junior and the daughter of Lisa and Jeff Kopfer. She is a star pitcher for the varsity softball team. Klopfer is active in the Foreign Language Club, Knowledge Bowl and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Jagger is a senior and daughter of Donna and Dale Jagger. She is a dedicated high school office helper. She is active in 4-H, FFA and shows market lambs at the Fairfield County Fair.

Mathews said the marching band made it to the state finals for the fourth year in a row. All nine judges awarded the band a Superior Rating. “These things don’t happen by accident,” he said. Band Director Ben Factor and band members were recognized.

The 7th grade volleyball team and Coach Krista Trent was honored as Mid-State League regular season champions with a 10-2 record. Ashleigh Miller’s 8th grade volleyball also took the MSL regular season championship with a 13-1 record.

The 8th grade football team, coached by Ed Mattox, were MSL champions with a perfect 7-0 record. The boys junior high cross country team, coached by Renee Mangette, were MSL champions. Michael Cuschleg was honored as MSL Junior High Individual champion.

Board members successfully nominated David Brandt for an Ohio School Boards Association “Friend of Education” award. Brandt has volunteered his knowledge, farm equipment and business assets for the past 17 years to help educate students at the district’s 15-acre school farm.

This year Brandt adopted the new maple syrup project for elementary students to learn the process from sap to syrup from the district’s 40-acre woodland.

During the business portion of the meeting, Architect Joe Schappa reported on the high school and middle school construction projects.

The high school is in the last phase which is the auditorium renovation. Most of the demo work is done. The cafeteria floor is finally installed. “We are still in punch out here (high school),” Schappa reported. “Our goal is to get it all done by the time the auditorium is done.”

At the middle school, there is a commitment to have the roofs on by Nov. 21. Windows and exterior doors are four to six weeks out. About 90 percent of the concrete floors are completed. “We are pretty much on schedule,” Schappa said. Temporary heat will be used to work inside during the winter. Drilling is proceeding at about nine wells a day for the 150-well geothermal system that will be used for heating and cooling.

High school teacher and union president Holly Lavender told board members that the district’s scope of work for the Race to the Top has been “approved with conditions.” Only 20 percent of the projects submitted to the Ohio Department of Education have achieved that status which means no revisions are required at this time. Some clarification on the implementation details will be required. That work will be done in the spring.

The district is getting $25,000 a year for four years from the new competitive federal program. The “biggest project” is developing a new evaluation system for teachers and principals.

“It won’t save us financially in any shape or form,” Mathews told The Beacon.
“We buy into the reform movement and it gives us some money (primarily for substitutes) to give our staff some time to work on it.”

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