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The district has a 'total plan' ready in event of disaster, officials said.



Published: Fri, September 14, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The district hasa 'total plan' ready in event of disaster, officials said.

By IAN HILL

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CANFIELD -- Some Canfield pupils left school with their parents after terrorist attacks Tuesday in New York City and Washington, D.C. Others were able to discuss their feelings with school and church officials.

"Actually, the day went pretty well, with our staff and the support of our churches," Superintendent Doug Hiscox said. "I don't know where it will go from here. We may need more help."

Reaction discussion: Hiscox discussed the district's reaction to the attacks when answering a question at a public forum Thursday night at Canfield Presbyterian Church. About 60 local residents attended the forum. It was held so that Canfield residents and parents could discuss with district officials the issues facing the schools.

A parent opened the question-and-answer portion by asking Hiscox how the schools had dealt with the terrorist attacks. Hiscox answered that elementary school pupils had not been told the news.

Older students, meanwhile, were informed and able to talk about their feelings with teachers and school officials, he said.

Hiscox said that had the school been in danger, officials would have followed the district's evacuation plan.

The proposal: That plan calls for Canfield High School students to go to Canfield Village Middle School, fifth- and sixth-graders to go to Canfield Presbyterian Church, and grades 7 and 8 to go to Canfield United Methodist Church. Elementary school pupils, meanwhile, would be sent to St. Michael Church.

"We have a total plan ready," said assistant Superintendent Dante Zambrini.

Hiscox also said parents would be asked to stay away from their children during the evacuation, to avoid confusion.

"I know that's a hard thing to do, but when you look at what could happen ...." he said, trailing off.

Funding issue: Hiscox also discussed the future of funding for Canfield schools. The Ohio Supreme Court recently ruled that state officials must recalculate the funding formula while speeding up parity funding, which is designed to reduce the gap between rich and poor districts.

Hiscox said the court's ruling will have no effect on funding for Canfield schools. He added that the district is still surviving on a five-year operating levy that was approved by voters in 1993.

As a result, Hiscox said, the district soon may have to find another source of funding.

"That's what the picture looks like now. It changes as the Legislature changes," he said. "I was really counting on [the court's decision] to help Canfield. That's not going to happen now."

This forum was the first Hiscox has held since 1998. It also was the first in a monthly series of public forums.

Improvement steps: Hiscox noted the steps administrators have taken in recent months to improve the district. These include stressing professional development for teachers, expanding the district's gifted and talented programs, and upgrading computers in the schools.

The next public forum will feature the candidates for the school board.

hill@vindy.com




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