Licking County News

Licking Heights school board to review goals Aug. 5

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With all the time the Licking Heights school board invested into passing a levy in May, members say they haven't have much time to discuss their goals for the district, board President Mark Loth said.

So, Loth said, the board will meet Monday, Aug. 5, in a special workshop to discuss those goals.

"We need to revisit those goals with all the changes in the district," he said.

Those changes include the failure of an 8.9-mill levy request in November 2012 that led to many layoffs and the elimination of high school bus transportation.

However, the same levy request was approved in May, and board members hope Aug. 5 to focus on how to use it.

Loth said the board invited representatives from the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio to the meeting to help maintain focus.

"They'll help guide us through things," he said.

Loth said his goal is to maintain educational levels in the face of the district's increasing enrollment.

"We need to keep up with the population," he said.

A big part of that, Loth said, is ensuring the district has adequate classroom space.

Board member Richard Wand said previously that the 2013-14 senior class has about 230 students, but the fifth-grade class has 325.

Loth said district buildings have to be ready for the increase.

Academically, Loth said, students need to have the technological acumen to function either in college or at a job after graduation.

Also, he wants to be sure students have a "well-rounded" education; he said the district should offer more arts courses and classes beyond the basics.

Board member Brian Bagley emphasized the use of technology.

"I would like to see us enhance the instruction and learning experience through the use of technology in the classrooms at all grade levels, Bagley said. "I would also like to see us continue to enhance our levels of excellence in the district.

"Our staff has done well in this area; however, that doesn't mean we've crossed the finish line. It should mean that we're just getting warmed up."

Wand said the district's Excellent with Distinction rating on the Ohio Department of Education's state report card makes it tougher to set goals.

"Setting goals previously was easy," he said.

In the past, the board would focus on hitting the academic goals the state set, but since that is happening consistently, Wand said, the board must focus upon "higher-end" goals. These include looking at the types of programs offered and comparing Licking Heights with other districts to see where improvements could be made.

One thing that won't be discussed, Wand said, is a ballot issue.

He said the district is trying to find a way to build a new high school without going to the voters, but the board members are waiting on some information from the Ohio School Facilities Commission before they will know if that is possible.

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