Vandalia-Butler to close elementary school

Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 @ 6:54 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 @ 6:54 PM

Vandalia-Butler City School District officials announced Tuesday they will close Murlin Heights Elementary School regardless of whether voters approve an additional 6.99-mill levy on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The earliest the 60-year-old school on North Dixie Drive would close would be next school year. It is part of the second phase of the district’s two-year, $7 million cost reduction plan, spokeswoman Bethany Reiff said.

This latest phase cutting $3.5 million follows early cuts totalling that amount announced in April.

Officials called the planned closure a “financial necessity” due to the high cost of operating the school for grades K-4 as well as additional planned cuts to teachers, support staff and administrators.

A second school that has not been identified also “could be closed” if the levy fails, Reiff said.

Superintendent Christy Donnelly could not be reached for comment.

Meegan Brady, who has three children in the district, including a 9-year-old son at Murlin Heights, was saddened to learn the news.

“To take it away completely, it shocked people,” said Brady, who volunteers at the school. She worries about the jobs of the staff and how the 406 students will be impacted. “Where are all those kids going to go?” she asked.

The district, which has about 3,300 students, plans to reconfigure district grade levels as part of the reductions aimed at balancing the budget. It provided a bullet-point list of what would happen depending on election results.

If the levy passes: $3.5 million would be cut and up to 15 positions of teachers, support staff and administrators eliminated. Busing that already has been reduced to the state minimum would be reassessed for 2013-14. There would be additional cuts to extracurricular activities.

If the levy fails: An additional $3.9 million would be cut and up to 60 positions eliminated. Student programs would be eliminated, compensation and benefits reduced and there would be $800,000 more cut from co-curriculars and athletics.

This is the third straight attempt by the district to get voters to approve a 6.99-mill operating and permanent improvement levy, which would generate about $3.9 million annually. Two earlier levies were defeated in November 2011 and last month.

District officials first warned voters last November that failure would result in $7 million in cuts. The first wave, identified in April, involved eliminating 32 positions, including 13 teaching positions. The district laid off 22 people.

Administrators said at that time the cost reductions were necessitated by a budget deficit of $18.3 million that resulted from $10.5 million in state funding cuts and a $7.8 million loss in property taxes.

This latest phase of reductions calls for reconfiguring district grade levels, likely next school year, in an effort to manage large class sizes.

Reiff said the reconfiguring “will definitely occur whether or not the levy passes” but said officials will not make a decision on what it would look like until there is more certainty about the budget.

Today, the district has 33 fewer teachers, 6.5 fewer administrators and 19 fewer support staff than it did in 2009, officials said. Remaining employees have taken a pay freeze and pay more for insurance.

Murlin Heights Principal Connie Strehle said it was sad receiving the news that the school she has led for a decade will be closing its doors for good after this school year.

“We were sad but we also realize we have a job to do this year,” she said. “We are going to provide our students with the best education we can.”

Some local schools close, others make plans for Monday’s solar eclipse 

Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 @ 8:28 PM
Updated: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 2:30 PM

UPDATE @ 2:30 p.m. (Aug. 18)

Springboro Community Schools notified parents Friday of its plans regarding Monday’s solar eclipse.

Several grades normal release time will occur during the peak of the solar eclipse at 2:27 p.m. Due to that, the district has decided to count absences or early dismissals related to the solar eclipse as excused for students at any building.

Those that choose to attend school will be dismissed to their buses or cars at their normal time during the eclipse peak, but will be instructed by teachers to not look directly at the sun without approved American Astrological Society (AAS) standard eclipse glasses:

  • To walk in a straight line outside
  • Look directly ahead or at the ground
  • Any student not following the guidelines will be escorted back in to the school

Some students in the district will get the opportunity to view the solar eclipse outdoors.

Students in 5th grade at Dennis Elementary will be issued AAS standard eclipse glasses to view the event because according to the district,  the solar eclipse aligns with the grade’s science curriculum. Other 5th grade students at Five Points Elementary will have to view a live stream of the eclipse due to a glasses order not being fulfilled. 

Students at Springboro Junior High School who return a signed permission slip and supply their own eclipse glasses will also be allowed to view the eclipse outdoors because the eclipse aligns with 7th grade Science standards.

All other grades will be be kept indoors after 1 p.m. and be allowed to watch a live stream of the eclipse in their classrooms.

For more details on Springboro Schools eclipse plans, click here.

UPDATE @ 5:29 p.m. (Aug. 17)

Practice for Bellbrook High School sports teams will be limited to indoor activities from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday due to the eclipse.

Xenia Community Schools will be closed Monday, Aug. 21.


Many school districts across the region are planning to turn Monday’s Great American Eclipse into a great learning opportunity.

Beavercreek City Schools is among about 20 districts to return to class today.

“Kids are excited, the staff is excited,” Superintendent Paul Otten said.

In addition to regular planning for the upcoming academic year, the district had to consider the Great American Eclipse. The district bought eclipse glasses earlier this summer.

“Every student and staff member in the district will be getting solar glasses,” which Otten said will be handed out Monday to the district’s staff and more than 7,800 students.

Teachers are enthusiastic about an interactive science lesson, the superintendent said.

“They saw it immediately as a learning experience for our kids, and instead of just trying to talk about it in the classroom, we wanted to give them an opportunity to get out and experience it firsthand,” Otten said.

Lena Ellis’ daughter started kindergarten today. “She’s so ready,” said Ellis, who admitted she is as well. “Mommy gets her break.”

She applauds the district for making sure science lessons on the eclipse will be safe.

“I think it’s wonderful they’ll keep their eyes protected,” Ellis said.

However, students must have parental permission to participate in outdoor eclipse activities. Letters will be sent home by the end of the week.

More eclipse-related news is on the News Center 7 website’s  #SkyWitness7 page.

News Center 7 will livestream special eclipse coverage Monday on Facebook and A special broadcast also will be on AM 1290 and 95.7 WHIO.

MOVE IN DAY: UD students take over campus

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 3:35 PM

            Students in the University of Dayton’s largest and most diverse freshman class in the school’s history began moving into their dorms Friday. The class numbers around 2,250 students. MALIK PERKINS/STAFF
Students in the University of Dayton’s largest and most diverse freshman class in the school’s history began moving into their dorms Friday. The class numbers around 2,250 students. MALIK PERKINS/STAFF

University of Dayton freshman Ann Meadowcroft was up before 2 a.m. Friday in expectation of her first move in to college.

Meadowcroft is part of the largest and most diverse incoming freshman class in University of Dayton’s history that move in on Friday. The historic class of more than 2,2000 new students represents 41 states and 16 countries

RELATED: Student debt ranked by Ohio colleges: What’s really going on?

“It’s awesome because I get to meet a whole bunch of new people and learn different histories and cultures that I wouldn’t have experienced in my hometown,” said Meadowcroft, who left North Canton around 3:30 a.m. to get to Dayton for move-in day.

Classes will start Wednesday and upperclassmen will move in Sunday.

To decrease traffic congestion on the traditionally high traffic day along the Brown Street corridor, around 1,200 freshman moved in on Friday, which helped today go smoother.

RELATED: Billions in student loan debt may be voided due to missing paperwork

Still, moving in the largest class yet is a big operation. There were also 430 student volunteers on campus Friday to help students carry their stuff into their dorms.

“We have about 430 volunteers today, including the football team. Other student athletes. Our campus recreation employees,” said Cari Wallace, assistant vice president for student development.

While move-in day can mean snarled traffic, it also means a huge boost for shops and restaurants surrounding the university, who depend on the students for their business.

RELATED: In their words: Local college grads share student loan horror stories

Jason Lindsey, Zombie Dogz shift leader, said “it’s a complete 180” with the students back to campus. The food-truck-turned-restaurant opened at its current Brown Street location last fall.

“We’re usually pretty busy on the weekends and stuff, but its very consistent when school was in. We’re very excited about that,” he said.

What’s new in school? 24 local districts share their latest additions

Published: Friday, August 11, 2017 @ 12:33 PM

Local school districts share their latest additions

Many area school districts start classes for the 2017-18 year next week, and local superintendents said students have reasons to be excited.

The Dayton Daily News asked school leaders about improvements or changes in preparation for the school year.

West Carrollton, Valley View, Xenia, Centerville and New Lebanon have all finished projects involving facilities.

FULL LIST: When does school start for area districts?

West Carrollton has completed its three-year locker room project for student athletes. Valley View completed repairs and added air conditioning in areas of some buildings where it was needed. Xenia has a new eight-lane track and ADA handicapped-accessible playground at the preschool. The new Chief Brown Stadium will be in full operation in New LebanonCenterville added new carpet to their high school — replacing some that had been their since the building opened — along with ongoing maintenance.

Several district leaders noted additions to science and engineering programs to their schools.

“We are offering, in conjunction with the Miami Valley CTC, robotics and State Tested Nursing Assistant credentialing courses at the high school this year,” Northmont spokeswoman Jenny Wood said. Se noted programs for robotics at the middle school and aeronautical engineering at the high school.

Huber Heights is expanding its pre-engineering program, adding courses such as computer science, medical detectives and music appreciation. Miami East noted it is adding STEM courses to the Junior High.

Oakwood added American Sign Language and other classes to its high school and junior high curriculum. Mad River Schools has applied for the district’s third school to be dedicated as an Ohio Department of Education STEM school.

Greeneview changed the starting time of each building because of transportation and will offer Champions Before & After Care.

BACK TO SCHOOL GUIDE 2017: Everything you need to know

Springboro has added new courses geared toward giving students a more in-depth learning experience for career interests.

“We are adding two new programs at Springboro High School: Teacher Academy and Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Biomedical Science. Teacher Academy will provide students who are interested in teaching with in-depth and hands-on experiences related to educating others. PLTW Biomedical Science is yet another addition to our STEM offerings,” Springboro spokeswoman Bethany Reiff said.

Another school adding hands-on experience for students is Piqua, which worked over the summer break to transition local WOTVC channel to the high school for the media course to produce a community television channel. The TV channel will allow students to write, direct, edit and create media formats that can be seen on their local station.

Lebanon partnered with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to provide mental health services for all students, according to Superintendent Todd Yohey.

Both Eaton and Kettering are implementing the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) in their school systems.

MORE: State makes major changes to graduation requirements for Class of 2018

“PBIS is a decision-making framework that guides selection, integration and implementation of evidence-based academic and behavioral practices. The focus of this program is improving important academic and behavior outcomes for all students,” said Barabara Curry, Eaton superintendent.

Schools throughout the area are also working to incorporate technology in their classrooms like Fairborn who is upgrading their Primary through Intermediate schools. Franklin is in its second year of the 1:1 computer program in which more grade levels will have the opportunity to use Chromebooks in the classroom.

Bellbrook has developed a new strategic plan targeting its vision and mission statements and strategic goals.

Miamisburg City Schools have a Head Start classroom to benefit students whose families meet the poverty guidelines. There will be two sessions throughout the day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and transportation will be provided.

MORE: 30 essential items for college students

Beavercreek and Tecumseh have worked on areas for their k-5 programs. Tecumseh is using a new reading program for young students, and Beavercreek created a learning museum that will use creative learning spaces.

Milton-Union is working on ways to provide better messaging and constant information for their community members, including a better web presence.

Troy said it is working toward replacing the elementary schools and doing work on their high school through a levy placed on the November ballot.

When does school start for area districts and schools?

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 2:16 PM

Back-To-School Do's And Don'ts

Start dates at schools and districts throughout the Miami Valley range from Aug. 2 to Sept. 5.

When does your school or district start? Choose from the dropdown menu below or scan by start date. Schools that have already started are listed at the bottom of the page.

Note: In some schools and districts, some grade levels might start on different dates.

» Back to school guide for 2017: Everything you need to know
» State makes major changes to graduation requirements for Class of 2018
» Ohioans to get sales tax holiday in August for back-to-school supplies