$57M plan unveiled

Two new buildings proposed near high school
Caitlin Nearhood
May 22, 2014
The future of Sandusky Schools shines bright.

The district’s Senior Leadership Team announced Wednesday two new elementary schools will be built in the near future.

The schools will stand at the old Memorial Hospital’s location, land the district already owns thanks to the Dorn Foundation. Dr. Eugene Sanders, the district’s superintendent and CEO, presided over the meeting, which drew a few dozen people to the Sandusky High cafeteria.    One elementary school will house preschool through third grade, while the other will house fourth through sixth grades.

Of the 10 plans the team drafted, the group had difficulty deciding which one to recommend and use.

All team members agreed the high school needed to be renovated, and they discussed how to balance the high school’s needs with the elementary schools’ needs.

Every time the high school came into play, however, the cost of renovation topped $73 million.

“We had to divorce ourselves from our hearts to decide what is best for the students, families, and citizens of Sandusky, Ohio,” Sanders said, in reference to leaving out renovation plans for the entire high school.

Instead, the focus will be to upgrade the science labs and to help guide the STEAM initiative — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics — that will be implemented in future curriculum.

“If we don’t take a position in educating in STEAM, we aren’t doing our job,” Sanders said, explaining the new curriculum’simportance.

The cost of the new elementary schools is $57 million, but the district won’t pay the whole bill. Fifty-four percent of the project will be co-funded by the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission.

The team wanted to make sure the levy for November was below 5 mills in the best interest of people in the district. The proposed millage is 3.94 mills, so taxpayers would pay about 35 cents a day for the upcoming project.

Sanders also discussed using PALFIs — Project Agreement Locally Funded Initiatives — to go toward preschool education and the STEAM renovation. A total of $6.5 million will go toward these plans.

“It’s the essential vision of Sandusky City Schools,” Sanders said of the funding preschool education. “We must invest in children’s education at the earliest age. We want to build a solid foundation for better dreams”

Preschool is offered to anyone who wants it.

Additionally, the team wants to begin Blue Streak University, an opportunity for high school students to gain college credits beginning their sophomore year. Students would declare a major area of study that can be changed with their interests. The overall goal would be for each student to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associates degree.

No matter what happens, change is for certain.

“This is an exciting time in Sandusky City Schools,” board president Thomas Patterson stated in a release. “Not only have we started with an educational vision and a detailed academic plan, but we believe this building effort comes at a pivotal time as we move ahead to re-establish the structural foundation for generations to come”

On May 6, 70 percent of voters approved Issue 3, a levy for the district to move forward with its transformation plan.

At the end of the meeting, audience members viewed a short video that showcased students and staff members at various events and activities and relayed the need for better facilities through interviews about the condition of the schools.

“This is a transformative moment in the history of the district” Sanders said.

The district has placed a bond issue on the Nov. 4 ballot to take care of Sandusky Schools’ portion of the cost of the facilities plan. More meetings are planned before the November election.

Comments

Dwight K.

With the way society and kids are becoming it seems like it may be a waste of money

coasterfan

I disagree. School is the only place where many kids receive any instruction in life skills. We know what the results are when education is denied or otherwise hindered. Just because there are problems doesn't mean we should stop trying to make things better.

We can either spend money building schools or spend that same money building prisons. The smart money goes towards education.

Darkhorse

The schools closed all the older schools down and now they want to build new schools. After the school passes the levy of almost 4 mills and make no doubt about this happening because of the rentals in town, they will come back and ask for a huge operating levy to maintain all those new schools. Buildings don't make the student, good quality teaching does. Some kids can't even make it to graduation with the simple ABC's being taught.

coasterfan

And again, in nearly every case, the teachers and the schools are not the problem. A few years ago, the entire teaching staff of a failing Toledo School was replaced with a highly successful teaching staff from another building.

The result? The school still failed, even with the award-winning new staff, because the real root problem wasn't addressed: a large majority of kids gave poor effort during class, didn't do any homework, didn't study for tests, were absent a large number of times, had absentee parents who didn't give a hoot about their own child's progress in school.

When kids and parents care, the results are usually good. When parents and kids don't care, even the best teacher in the world will not succeed in educating the child.

Donegan

Your argument supports the fact that the Liberals are wrong and throwing more money at education does not work.
A award winning staff and nice facilities do not make a difference so how is more money being throw at it going to help?

Nemesis

They can't bear to not try SOMETHING.

There's a prayer, I believe it originated with AA, that reads:

Grant me the courage to change the things I can,
the serenity to accept the things I can't change,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Most liberals, especially in the education industry, never get past the first line.

twosenseworth

"The team wanted to make sure that the levy for November was below 5 mills in the best interest of people in the district."
--Dear team....I presently pay the Sandusky City Schools $3508.98 per year out of the over $4500 in annual taxes. In the best interest of this taxpayer, I suggest that you find a happy medium and live within your means.

"The proposed millage is 3.94 mills, so taxpayers would pay about 35 cents a day for the upcoming project."
--Dear team....Is there a valuation amount that this 35 cents per day is based on? I doubt if every taxpayer will pay 35 cents per day, unless this is an average for those of us who reliably pay their taxes, and those who have the privilege of paying little or nothing for the same benefits.

MrGadfly

Shame on you Sandusky Public Schools. Trying to under inflate the real cost of these levies by breaking down the cost to the lowest denominator. Why not base the cost per hour of your life ? That's about a penny and a half per hour.

Now, lets look at reality. This mere 35cents per day equates to $6650 dollars in total cost for a person living 60 years. This is additional cost added to your present tax responsibility. Also, do you think other government agencies will not expect additional funds over that 60 year period?

Why do schools always try to be coy with these costs? In Perkins ,it is only a couple Starbucks a month. Mind games against taxpayers.

Don't be fooled !

coasterfan

Kasich cut state revenue and severely cut funding to public schools in Ohio, at a time when the exact opposite was needed. This resulted in a higher tax burden for taxpayers on a local level. Don't be fooled.

Politicians and diapers should be changed often, and for the same reason. Vote Fitzgerald for Governor this Fall.

Nemesis

"Kasich cut state revenue and severely cut funding to public schools in Ohio, at a time when the exact opposite was needed."

A few comments above, you did an excellent job of explaining why it was NOT needed and would NOT confer any benefit.

Make up your mind.

Nemesis

"Why do schools always try to be coy with these costs? In Perkins ,it is only a couple Starbucks a month. Mind games against taxpayers."

That's why they've come up with the new fuzzy math curricula - if people really learn math, schools will never pass another levy.

The Bizness

$6,650 dollars isn't that much over that long of a time....

I like the plan

doppleganger

Time to draft a letter to my tenants. Your rent is going up anywhere between $25 to $50 per month. 35 cents per day my eye.

coasterfan

Typical response. Instead of waiting to see what the actual increase might be, we have a kneejerk reaction, a convenient excuse to raise the rent. Anyone want to bet whether Doppleganger will lower the rent if/when he finds out that it actually will cost him less than $25-50 per tenant?

bluestreakparent76

35 cents a day is a little under $11 a month. What kind of landlord doesn't know how to do simple math. Obviously a new school would benefit you.

Nemesis

The problem is that marxists like you don't understand that the landlord's purpose in renting the property is to make a profit.

Florence Nightingale

Who above said landlords shouldn't make a profit? I believe the math was the only thing bluestreakparent criticized.

Nemesis

And the criticism of the "math" hinged on his marxist assumption that their calculations only consider covering costs, not profit.

LegalizeFreewill

Somehow, someway... I wish any community could integrate a high school & a "civilian-center" where the other members of the community could utilize the facilities & continuously-educate & stimulate the brains & bodies of the community.
For example: a pottery room for anyone & the art classes.
Or a physical therapy pool for education of all ages on all kinds of principles - like "aqua-yoga"
Just ask'in :)
All citizens need stimulation, education, socialization, activities, & entertainment.
otherwise we are left to sit in our houses, watch - mind-dumbing television, eat like kings & whine about the world, while we live in air-conditioning and eat Chinese buffets for less than 10$.
Yada yada yada.
Pimp'in Ain't Eazy.
Keep it 100 playa.
Fur-dildo ;)
Night-night.

SamAdams

Re: "On May 6, 70 percent of voters approved Issue 3, a levy for the district to move forward with its transformation plan."

I don't know if some uncredited school authority said this, or if the reporter just thought it sounded good, but it's a false claim. On May 6, 70 percent of voters approved a RENEWAL levy. It was not an increase. It was not new. It was a RENEWAL we were told was necessary to avoid significant budget problems.

Now that the schools have got their funding for the next number of years, we're suddenly advised the district wants to spend some $57 million ADDITIONAL taxpayer dollars? REALLY???

I'm sorry, but as has been said before (including by me): If throwing money at the problem would FIX the problem, we'd have the best schools and most qualified students in the world already! And we're not even close. In fact, no matter HOW much we spend, it's not going to matter until students start attending classes, working hard, studying harder, and can pass courses in the BASICS -- which won't happen until PARENTS are just as responsible! (In other words, money ain't the problem...)

I'm not going to say that newer buildings and more technology is necessarily bad, or that I don't support advanced courses. But MOST of us would probably like a newer car or a better "home theater." We don't spend extra money, though, when we don't have it. Even more to the point, we long ago learned the difference between "want" and "need!"