Huron: Shuffling students now means no levy later

HURON The Huron Schools are on the move. The district plans to shuffle students to va
MIKE FITZPATRICK
May 24, 2010

HURON

The Huron Schools are on the move.

The district plans to shuffle students to various buildings for the upcoming academic year. The moves mean the district will not have to go before voters to seek money to expand buildings, superintendent Fred Fox said.

The district has four buildings -- Shawnee, Woodlands, the McCormick complex and the high school.

The board of education will take over the Shawnee building, Fox said. The Shawnee building will also house the district's pre-school, kindergarten and first- and second-grade classes. Students who attend the Firelands Montessori Academy, currently housed in the Shawnee building, will be moved to the annex building at the McCormick complex, Fox said.

Woodlands, which has been home to the pre-school through fourth-grade classes, will now be home to students grades 3-6. It will be known as Woodlands Intermediate. Woodlands will also house three county units for young students with multiple handicaps.

McCormick will house grades 7-8, Fox said. High school students will stay at the high school.

In prior years, McCormick housed grades 5-8, with the fifth- and sixth-graders' home rooms located in the annex building. The problem with that was fifth- and sixth-graders would have to leave the annex to enter the main building to attend physical education classes, lunch, the auditorium, library and other classes.

"Every 45 minutes the doors would open and those kids were going in all different directions," Fox said. "For years these kids have been going out in the snow, wind and rain."

The board requested administrators in May of 2007 come up with an alternative plan that would eliminate the fifth- and sixth-graders from having to go outside, Fox said.

The district explored several options. One would have involved putting an addition on Woodlands and having it house grades K-8 and shutting down McCormick, Fox said. Another would have been to put an addition on Shawnee school and making that the junior high.

Officials also considered building an addition at McCormick that would have connected the two buildings, Fox said.

All three alternatives would have required the schools putting a levy on a ballot -- a levy Fox and other school officials did not believe would pass in the current economic climate.

"We're basically taking what we have, fixing it up and moving people around," Fox said. "We're trying to do it without going to our taxpayers for additional money and we think we have a building plan that will take care of our district for the next 25 years."