Northeastern school board plans to keep high schools split

Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 @ 11:14 PM
Updated: Thursday, April 20, 2017 @ 4:34 PM

The Northeastern Local School Board will ask voters to support a bond issue for two new schools in the district.

The Northeastern Local School Board likely will ask voters to support a bond issue to build two new pre-kindergarten through 12th grade schools, keeping the district’s high schools split.

The board voted 4-1 Wednesday night to allow Superintendent John Kronour to ask the Ohio School Facilities Commission for money to build the two schools. The schools are projected to cost about $116 million.

READ MORE: Northeastern board members debate $100M new school plans

The school board has debated for several years whether Northeastern should consolidate the district’s two high schools. The district is the second largest in Clark County and the last here to have multiple high schools. The school board held several community forums on the issue, and last week said the feedback they got indicates that the best chance at new buildings is to keep the district divided.

“I can speak for every one of us that we read (emails) carefully and considered all aspects of every one of them,” board member Steve Schwitzable said. “There was nothing that caused me to change my mind. I am still of the opinion I think one high school building is the best educationally, financially. But I don’t think it will pass and I think we can do very well with two pre-k through 12th buildings.”

The plan would call for one school to be built in Northridge close to Kenton Ridge High School and the other will be built in South Vienna near Northeastern High School. That’s contingent on voters approving a $77.5 million bond issue this November.

The state likely will kick in $38.5 million if the bond issue passes.

RELATED: Northeastern to survey residents on $100M new schools plan

School Board President Chris James and board members Joel Augustus, Jill Parker and Schwitzable voted for the two new schools. James and Parker said they believed two schools were the best option for students in the district, while Augusts and Schwitzable said they believed one high school was likely better for education, but they didn’t think that voters would approve a bond issue asking to consolidate schools.

This option was supported over a second option to build three new school buildings in the district. That would have included two new pre-k through eighth-grade buildings and one new high school, costing the district about $123.8 million — about $83.8 million would have fallen to taxpayers to cover.

That plan was supported by board Vice President Jeff Caivano, who said he wants to consolidate the high schools to offer more opportunities for students. He called the decision to build two new buildings instead of the one high school an “awful mistake.”

EARLIER COVERAGE: Northeastern residents split on $100M plan for new schools

He said picking the two building option because voters would be more likely to support it wasn’t a good idea and that the board has a responsibility to choose the best option for the students regardless of public opinion.

“Neither one of these plans are going to be easy to pass,” he said. “I feel it is our job as a board not to sit back as a board and say, ‘We know it’s not best academically, financially, but we think this is going to pass.’”

Caivano said if the two schools combined, he believed it could be the crown jewel of Clark County offering students a competitive curriculum along with saving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in staffing and services.

“Let’s build an academic powerhouse,” he said before the vote.

The vote doesn’t put the bond issue on the November ballot, it was only to prompt Kronour to start the process with the Ohio School Facilities Commission to get money for the schools. Board members will have to vote again later on a bond issue.

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Greenon to host public forum for new school building Feb. 26

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 6:00 AM


            Indian Valley School in Enon. Bill Lackey/Staff
Indian Valley School in Enon. Bill Lackey/Staff

Greenon Local Schools will host another community forum to hear residents’ opinions about what they want to see in the district’s new $50 million school.

The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, at Indian Valley Intermediate School.

The forum will allow residents to get updates on the current progress for the new school and will be a place for them to “ask questions, understand the decision-making process and hear the schedule of next steps,” according to a post on the district’s website.

MORE: Greenon starts planning $54M new school after bond issue passes

Input from the community is a top priority as the district plans for construction, Greenon Superintendent Brad Silvus said.

“We consider the community to be a vital part of the process of building a new school and look forward to working together to create a new facility that will be a source of pride for the entire district,” he said.

Greenon voters passed a $36 million bond issue last May to build a new pre-k-through-12th-grade school. The 6.98-mill bond will cost a taxpayer who owns a $100,000 property in the district a little more than $20 a month.

The state will pick up $18 million of the costs through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.

The total cost of the school was projected to be about $54 million. However, district officials said they sold its bonds at a lower rate than what was originally projected and therefore saved almost $4.3 million.

READ: Greenon moves forward with $54M school building project

The building process will be a long one, SHP Leading Design Architect Charlie Jahnigen said.

“We are in the schematic design phase,” Jahnigen said during a school board meeting last week.

The phase’s purpose is to set goals and requirements the district wants in its new building, he said.

The board of education is talking with teachers about what they want in the new school, Board President Dennis Henry said at the meeting.

PREVIOUS: Forum a chance to weigh in on plans for $54M new Greenon school

The new building will be constructed on the current site of the Indian Valley Intermediate School. Indian Valley will remain open during construction but will close once the new school opens, as will Enon Primary and Greenon High School.

The new school will be for all students in the district, but district leaders said they intend to divide the building so that students of different ages won’t intermingle.

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Teen accused in Springfield school threat makes court appearance

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 2:33 PM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 5:22 PM

A Springfield High School student was in Clark County Juvenile Court because of alleged threats posted on social media

The Springfield High School student charged in connection with a school threat that caused local schools and schools across the country to take safety precautions made her first court appearance Friday.

The 17-year-old junior stood before Clark County Juvenile Court Judge Robert Vaughn and cried as the judge told her she was being charged with inducing panic, a felony in the second degree.

READ: Springfield-Clark CTC investigates social media threat

“(The threat) was tracked to the phone of the suspect,” Vaughn said, reading her charging document.

The potential penalty, if she is convicted, is between one year to until she is 21 years old in the Ohio Department of Youth Services, Vaughn said.

The student’s next court date will be Wednesday.

“The court finds given the seriousness of the offense that the defendant be held at this time,” Vaughn said.

The defendant will make her way through the juvenile court system and not be moved to adult court, Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson said.

The juvenile court system can handle incidents like these, he said.

MORE: Springfield student arrested in Facebook threat: 4 things to know

“This case will remain in juvenile court for adjudication and the State of Ohio will not seek to have this defendant bound over to adult court,” Wilson said.

What the suspect allegedly did was serious, Wilson said, and it will be prosecuted.

“The actions of this defendant caused serious public inconvenience and alarm,” Wilson said. “This defendant and any other person who posts or issues these kinds of threats will have to answer for their actions in front of a judge.”

He said no one should make threats against a school.

RELATED: Attendance ‘light’ at schools across Clark County after threat

“Local law enforcement will continue to take these threats seriously and anyone caught making these types of threats will be arrested and charged,” he said.

Clark County had a strenuous week with school threats and security. On Tuesday, an unloaded gun was found in an 8-year-old Simon Kenton student’s backpack. And there had been rumors that a gun was found at Springfield High School on Wednesday. Superintendent Bob Hill said the rumors, which concerned many parents and community members on social media, was not true.

Also on Friday, Clark County deputies investigated a supposed threat towards Northwestern Local Schools.

The Northwestern student was arrested at the start of school Friday morning, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and a one-call sent to parents by the district.

“There was another threat and another arrest was made,” Clark County Chief Deputy Travis Russell told the Springfield News-Sun.

Northwestern School Superintendent Jesse Steiner said a student made an online post that was perceived by some to have threatened the school, but that student did not mean to.

READ: Springfield student arrested in Facebook threat: 4 things to know

Steiner said the online post was taken out of context, and the student did not intend to harm anyone.

“At no point was anybody in danger,” Steiner said. “People could have misinterpreted the post. The kid did not threaten anyone.”

The post is a reason why it might be a good idea to talk to kids about what they post online, Steiner said.

“This is a great time to talk about what they post online and how they say it,” he said. “Have that conversation so they can keep their kids safe.”

The status of the student’s case was unknown Friday afternoon.

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School shooting: Judge rules interrogation of accused teen can be used in court

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 12:45 PM


            Ely Serna and his attorney Dennis Lieberman talk before a hearing in Champaign County Common Pleas Court. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF
Ely Serna and his attorney Dennis Lieberman talk before a hearing in Champaign County Common Pleas Court. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

An interrogation of the West Liberty-Salem High School shooting suspect can be used against him in court, a Champaign County judge ruled.

Ely Serna, who was 17 years old when he allegedly brought a shotgun into the school and fired multiple times in 2017, could understand his rights and willingly waived them before speaking with Champaign County Sheriff’s Office Det. Glenn Kemp, Champaign County Judge Nick Selvaggio wrote in a ruling.

RELATED: Defense: West Liberty school shooting suspect had depression

“The court finds that the defendant’s ‘totality of the circumstances surrounding the interrogation reveals both an uncoerced choice and the requisite level of comprehension’ needed to waive each right,” Selvaggio says in his ruling.

West Liberty-Salem student Logan Cole was shot twice. The interrogation took place just hours after the school shooting, Kemp said in court.

A message was left for defense attorney Dennis Leiberman but was not returned Friday.

MORE: West Liberty school shooting suspect Ely Serna to appear in court

The defense in the case argued to the court on Feb. 13 that Ely Serna was suffering from depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and bulimia when he was being interrogated by Kemp. A psychologist and a psychiatrist both said during the hearing that Serna was suffering from the mental disorders when he was being interrogated, but the psychiatrist said he did not believe Serna was suffering enough to be deemed incompetent.

“From the totality of the circumstances, the court finds that it has considered ‘all of the evidence to determine the defendant’s understanding, which can be implied by his conduct and the situation’ and finds that the defendant voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently waived his Miranda rights,” the ruling says.

West Liberty-Salem still healing 1 year after school shooting

Serna’s hands were cuffed from behind in the interview, Kemp said, to preserve evidence that was on him. There were blood and gun residue still on Serna at the time of the interrogation, Kemp said.

A trial against Serna is scheduled to start on April 10 and is expected to last about two weeks. Lieberman said he is still trying to decide whether he wants to waive a jury trial and opt for a bench trial in the case.

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Northwestern Superintendent: Threat against school not as it seems

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 11:12 AM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 12:32 PM


            Northwestern Schools. Bill Lackey/Staff
Northwestern Schools. Bill Lackey/Staff

Update: 12:15 p.m.

Northwestern School superintendent Jesse Steiner said the student who made an online post that was perceived to have threatened the school did not mean to.

READ: Springfield student arrested in Facebook threat: 4 things to know

Steiner said the online post was taken out of context, and the student did not intend to harm anyone.

“At no point was anybody in danger,” Steiner said. “People could have misinterpreted the post. The kid did not threaten anyone.”

The post is a reason why it might be a good idea to talk to kids about what they post online, Steiner said.

“This is a great time to talk about what they post online and how they say it,” he said. “Have that conversation so they can keep their kids safe.”

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A threat against Northwestern schools led to an arrest Friday.

Clark County Sheriff’s Office couldn’t immediately provide details of the threat or who was arrested but said they were contacted Friday morning.

“There was another threat and another arrest was made,” Clark County Chief Deputy Travis Russell told the Springfield News-Sun.

The arrest was made one day after local authorities arrested a 16-year-old Springfield girl for allegedly posting a Facebook threat against Springfield High School. The recent arrest comes two days after a gun was found at Simon Kenton Elementary School in Springfield.

MORE: Springfield-Clark CTC investigates social media threat

German Twp. Police also reported a gun was brought into Northwestern High School in January. Authorities said the teen told them he thought the gun was cool and wanted to show his friends.

We’re hearing a one-call was sent out to Northwestern parents this morning about the most recent threat. A message seeking comment was left for Northwestern Local School Superintendent Jesse Steiner.

RELATED: Northwestern schools explains delay in sending gun alert to parents

We will update this article when more information is available.

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