The Marysville Board of Education approved several staff changes and said goodbye to three members at its last meeting of the year.

The Marysville Board of Education approved several staff changes and said goodbye to three members at its last meeting of the year.

The school board approved the staff switches Dec. 19 as the district prepares for the new Marysville Early College High School and Union County Innovation Center, which will be housed at the now-vacant Maple Street Middle School, 833 N. Maple St.

Bunsold Middle School Principal Kathy McKinniss will serve as principal of the new school, and Michelle Kaffenbarger will move from assistant principal to principal at Bunsold. High school choir director Mike Robertson will leave his teaching position to be the assistant principal at Bunsold.

The administrative changes take effect Jan. 1.

The new school is the result of a recent $12.5 million grant the district received as seed money to start an early college school from the Ohio Department of Education's Straight A Fund.

Ohio Hi-Point Joint Vocational School District, Columbus State Community College, Honda of America Manufacturing, the Union County Chamber of Commerce and EDWorks will work with Marysville schools to create the Marysville Early College High School and Union County Innovation Center.

The venture, Ohio's first manufacturing-related early college high school focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), is scheduled to open for the 2014-15 school year.

The board approved hiring Ruscilli Construction Co. as the general contractor and OHM Advisors as the architect for the renovations. District officials said the general contractor fees are part of the $8,407,880 estimated construction cost; architectural services are expected to run $630,591.

The board also authorized Superintendent Diane Mankins and director of business Mike White to act as representatives for project-related questions that need to be answered immediately; both have the ability to approve items under $50,000.

In other business, board President Jeff Mabee and members Tracy Greer and Doug Lassiter said goodbye. Greer and Lassiter decided not to run for re-election in November. Mabee lost his race to stay on the board. Brian Luke, Ed Pleasant and Dick Smith will begin their service in January.

Lassiter said he enjoyed being on the board despite occasional differences of opinion.

"I'm going to miss working on this team. Over the last couple of years, it just seems like we've come together. I just feel blessed to have been a part of it," he said.

Greer said she, too, felt fortunate to be a part of the board.

"This has been a really enjoyable learning experience, and with the governance team we have created, it has just been one of the crowning achievements of being on the board the last couple of years," she said. "I'm so thankful that everything fell into place."

Mabee thanked the community for allowing him to serve for the last eight years.

"It's been a humbling experience to get in and understand what we as a district do. This is a great governance team. Andy (Culp, the assistant superintendent) was kind enough to remind me what we were doing one year ago, and from where we were then to where we are now was a hard, difficult road but I couldn't be more proud of where we're going."

The December 2012 board meeting was held in the Bunsold Middle School auditorium to accommodate more than 300 residents who showed up to complain about a reduction-in-force plan that cut dozens of jobs. They also complained about a lack of communication going into the November election. Approximately $2 million in cuts were made after voters rejected a 4-mill levy request on the November 2012 ballot.

Finally, the board said goodbye to district Treasurer Cindy Ritter, who is retiring Dec. 31.

Mankins thanked Ritter for her service and guidance.

"You have been a phenomenal asset for me walking in the door. From the moment I met you, we had a connection," said Mankins. "I couldn't have made it through this last year without a friendly face. Thank you very much."

Ritter called her time at Marysville a journey.

"Over the years, I've unfortunately had to do what we did a year ago in too many districts. And it's tough no matter what district you're in," she said.

She assured the board she would still be around.

The Marysville school board will hold its organizational meeting at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 6 at Maple Street Middle School, when new board members Luke, Pleasant and Smith will be sworn in.