The Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School offers 22 career programs, school officials say.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
HOWLAND -- Faced with the anticipated closing of the Gordon D. James Career Center, schools Superintendent John Rubesich and the school board looked to Ashtabula County for answers.
Rubesich said he and the board wanted to make sure students and taxpayers were provided with the best opportunity for vocational training, so he began talking with officials in Ashtabula.
The board voted unanimously Wednesday night to enter a contract with the Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School.
The board of the Ashtabula vocational school must still approve the contract. Rubesich said he did not know when that board will meet.
"We believe this is our best option," Rubesich said.
Options: Rubesich explained that with the closing of the James center in Lordstown, the district could try to provide 12 mandated vocational programs in-house, or they could seek to affiliate with another joint vocational school.
Rubesich said the district could not provide the programs in-house because of limited space.
"Our other option was to affiliate with the Trumbull County Technical Center at a cost to the Howland taxpayers of about $1.4 million per year," Rubesich said, noting the board and the administration did not want to go that route. TCTC is located in Champion.
"It would cost about $37,000 per student per year to send them to TCTC, and it will cost about $8,000 to $10,000 per student per year to send them to Ashtabula," Rubesich said. The district has about 25 students enrolled in vocational programs, said Frank Thomas, high school principal.
The board members said they have toured TCTC and ACJVS and found both to be good facilities.
"Ashtabula offers 22 different programs, while Gordon D. James Career Center, where the students were going, offered only 12," board member Ray Tisone said. TCTC offers 35 career programs.
Board President Eric Moore and Rubesich said the district also will look at providing a few courses in-house.
Travel: Board members said a bus will transport the JVS students every school day.
"It takes about 45 minutes on the bus, so they should be back to our school around 3:15 p.m., which will allow students to participate in sport activities if they wish," Rubesich said.
Moore credited Rubesich with the idea of sending the students to Ashtabula.
"We were faced with a problem, and he [Rubesich] came up with a very creative solution," Moore said.
Niles, Weathersfield, McDonald, Lordstown and Howland sent students to the James center. Niles, Weathersfield and McDonald districts have been accepted into the TCTC. Lordstown officials have not announced their plans.