Delaware News

Effects of 2013 bond issue will loom large in schools' future

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Delaware residents showed they were in the school district's corner in 2013, giving their nod to funding for an expansive plan that will see renovations at every district building.

This year's vote will spur action for years to come as upgrades and realignments give students the elbow room they've been lacking.

Here's a look back at a few of the year's top stories in the Delaware City School District.

 

Bond issue wins

Delaware voters strongly approved a 3.6-mill bond issue May 7, allowing the district to move forward with plans for a major facilities overhaul.

In order to deal with the increased district enrollment and overcrowding in the buildings, district leaders came up with a $50 million project that would not require redistricting, but would adapt the district's existing buildings.

The plans would allow the district to return to the traditional grade alignment of grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

Five of the eight buildings in the district currently are over capacity. Without changes, Willis Intermediate and Dempsey Middle schools would not have been able to handle the number of new students coming in, officials said.

The last time the district added classroom space was in 1998, when there were 3,800 enrolled students. Now, the district has 5,400 students and is pushing toward 6,000 as enrollment tops predictions.

With the funds from the bond issue, all five elementary schools will be redesigned to accommodate fifth-grade students from Willis Intermediate School. Dempsey Middle School will absorb sixth-graders from Willis.

Willis, built in 1883, will become an administrative building and will be available to rent as community space.

The district's three-year implementation began in the summer with short-duration projects. Additional security features were added to all buildings, and Woodward Elementary School received a new roof in June.

The updated security features include new cameras with multiple views at all building entrances and a system that requires individuals to be buzzed in once the school office has visual and verbal confirmation.

The district is continuing to work on the architectural drawings for the renovations that will take place over the next few years. Schultz Elementary School and Hayes High School will be the first recipients of the upgrades in spring 2014 if all goes according to plan.

Larry Davis, who retired this year as the district's facilities director, is working on the renovation projects with the architects.

Davis said in June, "We ask ourselves three things: Will this work for students and provide them with a better environment for their education? Will this work for staff in order to manage their education on a daily basis? And is this being attentive to the security needs of each building?"

The 3.6-mill bond issue will be drawn out over four years and, by 2017, will cost homeowners about $60 more annually per $100,000 in property value.

 

Great grades

Delaware schools received an "excellent with distinction" rating in March for the 2011-12 school year from the Ohio Department of Education.

In the past 11 years, the district moved from the second-lowest designation of "academic watch" to the highest ranking of "excellent with distinction."

The newly designed state report cards came out in August for the 2012-13 school year, now using traditional letter grades to rate districts. Delaware schools received a B in the Performance Index category, which measures the achievement of each student enrolled for the entire school year, and an A for meeting 23 of 24 state benchmarks.

Superintendent Paul Craft said had the old standards been in place, Delaware again would have received an "excellent with distinction" rating.

However, the district received an F in its progress with gifted students, an area Craft said the district is examining.

 

New position

When Amy Piacentino, executive director of curriculum and programming, retired June 27, the district decided to create a new job.

The district merged the vacant position of assistant superintendent with the curriculum director position.

The position was filled Aug. 1 by Brad Faust, former Hayes High School principal. Ric Stranges replaced Faust as the new principal of Hayes.

Faust is responsible for assisting the superintendent, heading up curriculum, programming, special education, enrichment services and instructional technology.

Comments