The Groveport Madison Board of Education approved a nearly $3.5 million contract last week for the third phase of renovations to the District Service Center.

The Groveport Madison Board of Education approved a nearly $3.5 million contract last week for the third phase of renovations to the District Service Center.

The school district received seven proposals for the work on the administrative offices. Elford Inc. was determined to be the contractor submitting "the lowest and best proposal" for the work. Chris Dumford, a representative from VSWC Architects, told the board the proposal was within budget. He said the work on the administrative offices is expected to be completed early in December so the current offices can be moved from rented space at 5940 Clyde Moore Drive over the holiday break.

Dumford reported that work on Phase 1 of the District Service Center -- the bus garage -- has been completed and the fuel tank for the buses, part of Phase 2 of the project, has been moved. Once the tank is fully operational around Aug. 1, after hook-ups are completed and fencing is installed, a temporary fuel tank at the high school will be removed.

Phase 2 of the project includes work on Cruiser Academy, which is on track and expected to be ready for students when school resumes.

Petition drive failed

Also at the July 13 meeting, the board rejected a petition from some residents on Alum Creek Drive's west side who want to send their children to Hamilton Local School District instead of Groveport Madison.

The district sent the petition to the State Board of Education on behalf of the residents, but since the Franklin County Board of Elections ruled the petition does not have enough valid signatures, Superintendent Bruce Hoover said it cannot move forward.

Before the vote, Gary Hensley, one of the petitioners, said since many students in the neighborhood attend Hamilton Township schools and the district report card is better there, he and others are "trying to unify our neighborhood."

"We're trying to do what is right for us and I understand you guys got to try to do what is right for you guys, but we're a dividing line. I pay Hamilton Township taxes," Hensley said.

The elections board indicated that 459 ballots were cast in the 2015 general election in the area affected by the petition. The needed number of valid signatures on the petitions was 75 percent of that total -- or 345 signatures.

According to Franklin County Board of Elections spokesman Ben Piscitelli, the board found the signatures of 351 qualified electors on the petitions. However, state law in this case requires that those who signed the petitions also had to have voted in the 2015 general election. That reduced the number of valid signatures on the petitions to 216.

Piscitelli said a new petition may be presented prior to April 1, 2018. Hoover said the petition would affect about 85 households, or about 119 students.

Hoover said he understands there are a number of families who want their children to attend Hamilton Township schools, but there also are families who want to remain in Groveport Madison.

"Our job is to make sure that we follow the process and that process includes the signature-verification process," he said.

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