THOMAS M. LYDEN
The Columbiana School Board met to discuss the district’s state report card and the bond issue that will be on the ballot in May.
The Ohio Department of Education designated the Columbiana Exempted Village School District as “excellent” on its yearly report card — the highest rating in Columbiana County. The school report cards are based on attendance, graduation rates, test performance, and the level of year-to-year progress.
While each school in the district individually earned an “excellent” designation, South Side Middle School received an “excellent with distinction” rating for the second time in three years, placing it among the top 14 percent of schools in Ohio.
The Ohio Department of Education also selected South Side Middle School as one of its State Superintendent’s Schools of Promise. The award honors schools that record a high level of achievement, where 40 percent or more the students are economically disadvantaged.
Also at the meeting Tuesday, the board discussed the recent formation of a bond issue committee, made up of volunteers who will campaign to pass the $4 million bond issue that will be on the ballot in May.
Having learned a lesson from the district’s unsuccessful attempt to pass a bond issue last August, Superintendent Donald Mook said that this campaign will be more organized and more focused on traditional measures such as meetings and yard signs.
Committee meetings have already been attracting double or triple the number of people as compared to the summer. “I think school being in session has generated a lot of energy,” Mook explained.
To help fund the campaign, the committee has appointed Daniella Clancy, a member of the Parent Teacher Organization, as treasurer. Clancy has opened an account at Huntington Bank accepting donations for the “Columbiana Building Excellence Fund.”
Mook also sought to address the skepticism of some voters with regard to the broad language that describes what the ballot measure will fund. Specifically, the language that will be on the ballot includes references to renovating and equipping facilities related to extracurricular activities.
To quell voter skepticism over where the money will go, Mook proposed that the school board vote on a resolution declaring that the money will first go to renovations at South Side Middle School — including replacing its leaky roof.
After that, if there is any bond money left, Mook proposed that the board create a process to elicit community input regarding where that money should be directed.
The board will vote on Mook’s suggestion at a special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the Columbiana High School Media Center.