breaking news


West Carrollton superintendent search resumes tonight

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 12:49 PM


            The West Carrollton City Schools Board of Education is interviewing several candidates with area ties for the superintendent’s job being vacated this summer by Rusty Clifford. NICK BLIZZARD
The West Carrollton City Schools Board of Education is interviewing several candidates with area ties for the superintendent’s job being vacated this summer by Rusty Clifford. NICK BLIZZARD

The West Carrollton City Schools superintendent’s job is scheduled to be discussed tonight.

The board of education is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. in executive session to discuss the post for which 10 people have been identified as candidates. Board President Roberta Phillips has said the district wants to make a decision by early May on a successor for longtime Superintendent Rusty Clifford, whose resignation is effective July 31.

RELATED: Sixteen administrators applied for post

It’s not clear if tonight’s session will involve candidate interviews or discussion. It is the fifth special meeting called this month involving superintendent candidates. The board also met Saturday regarding the job after holding executive sessions on March 8, 11 and 13.

Sixteen Ohio school administrators applied for the job and the board opted to interview 10, including a handful with area ties.

MORE: Fairborn hires Lebanon superintendent

Those selected for interviews with the district for the job held since 1999 by Clifford include:

-Amy Baldridge, Greene County Educational Service Center director of educational programs;

-Kimberly Hall, Walter Shade Early Childhood Center principal in West Carrollton;

-Shelley Hilderbrand, Huber Heights City Schools assistant superintendent;

-Matthew McCorkle, former Washington Court House Schools superintendent;

-Jeff Patrick, Franklin-Monroe Local Schools superintendent.

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The other five include: Thomas Bailey, assistant superintendent of Three Rivers Local Schools in Cleves near Cincinnati; Martha Hasselbusch, superintendent of South Central in Greenwich; Robert Humble, superintendent of Fairbanks Local Schools in Milford Center; Michael McCoy, superintendent of Oak Hill Union Local Schools in Jackson County; and Andrea Townsend, superintendent of New Bremen Local Schools in Auglaize County.

Tonight’s session is scheduled to be at the board of education office, 430 E. Pease Ave.

Annual Lakota food drive takes on Hamilton, Mason schools

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 12:18 PM


            For the first time, the annual Reach Out Lakota food drive will now include a competition outside of the Lakota Schools’ borders. Besides the usual Lakota East vs Lakota West high school competition, Lakota as a whole will be competing with Hamilton and Mason schools’ food drives, says Peyton Gravely, director of fundraising for Reach Out Lakota. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF
For the first time, the annual Reach Out Lakota food drive will now include a competition outside of the Lakota Schools’ borders. Besides the usual Lakota East vs Lakota West high school competition, Lakota as a whole will be competing with Hamilton and Mason schools’ food drives, says Peyton Gravely, director of fundraising for Reach Out Lakota. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF

For the first time the annual Reach Out Lakota food drive is reaching out to some neighboring school systems to help feed the needy.

MORE: Reach Out Lakota turns 25

The fall classic food drive is sponsored by the charitable organization that every fall pits Lakota East against Lakota West high schools.

But now in its 10th year, the food drive has new competitors — nearby Hamilton Schools and Warren County’s Mason Schools.

The idea of Lakota Schools’ new superintendent Matt Miller, the broadened food drive is a first to include three of northern suburban Cincinnati’s largest school systems.

RELATED: New Lakota school leader tours Reach Out Lakota

“This year, we will be working together as one Lakota to beat out two neighboring school districts — Mason Schools and Hamilton Schools. Regardless of the outcome, think of it as three communities winning,” said Miller, who began leading the 16,500-student Lakota district in August.

“We will kick off the competition at the Sept. 29’s Lakota East vs. Lakota West football game. The community will be invited to bring their donations to the game, with the drive continuing in our schools as it normally does through Oct. 25. The final collection points will be Oct. 27 at the last home games of the year with East vs. Mason and West vs. Hamilton,” said Miller.

“A (school) district-level ‘wager’ is in the works,” along with other details of the new charitable competition are still being worked out, said Miller.

MORE: Popular Lakota fanfare events at schools draws community members

Food donated will go to each school system’s community.

Peyton Gravely, director of fundraising for Reach Out Lakota, welcomed the idea.

“It’s amazing. It’s a win-win not only for Reach Out Lakota — and not only for the East versus West competition — but it will also help the Mason and Hamilton schools communities, which is a great thing,” said Gravely.

The annual food drive is the largest campaign to feed needy, area families each year, said Gravely.

Joni Copas, spokeswoman for the 10,000-student Hamilton Schools, said, “the Hamilton school district is proud that our students show compassion to help those in need.”

“We know that food drives benefit families in all communities and we are happy to participate in this food drive campaign at the Lakota West versus Hamilton High School football game,” said Copas.

Middletown classroom aide under investigation for alleged racial slur

Published: Monday, September 18, 2017 @ 5:09 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 11:09 AM

A teacher's aide at a Middletown elementary is accused of posting a racist slur on Facebook.

A Middletown Schools special education classroom aide is being investigated by the school system for allegedly using a racist slur in a Facebook comment, this news organization has exclusively learned.

A Middletown Board of Education member said the employee, Rebecca E. Montgomery at Miller Ridge Elementary, has been the source of “multiple complaints” regarding the online posting.

A recent Facebook comment by school board member Michelle Novak - in response to other Facebook comments regarding the alleged posting of a variation of an African-American slur by the school employee - stated: “The school has been notified through multiple complaints and it is now being investigated by our human resources department.”

MORE ON MIDDLETOWN: Middletown leaders voice progress in overdose fight

“I commend the community for being so proactive in reporting these matters. It is of the utmost importance that we have a safe and respectful environment within our schools,” Novak wrote.

The alleged Facebook post from Montgomery is in a comments section in response to a photo of an unidentified, young African-American girl. The post referenced an African-American slur with the final five letters replaced with asterisks.

The post also includes an emoji face shedding tears from laughing.

Montgomery started as a “substitute aide” with the school system in 2011 and is now a classroom “paraprofessional” or teachers aide, according to district officials.

Montgomery was not a work Monday and unavailable to comment.

MORE ON MIDDLETOWN: Man who lost son to ‘freak accident’ now fighting for his own life

Middletown schools spokesperson Destini Burns said “we are currently investigating” the allegations, and Montgomery is on paid administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.

Burns issued a statement from district officials saying: “Middletown School district embraces its diverse population of students and staff. We champion a safe and supportive environment that appreciates and celebrates the contributions and assets of a diverse learning community.”

This new organization will report more as information becomes available.​

New Fairfield schools’ underground secret saves money

Published: Sunday, September 17, 2017 @ 9:00 AM


            Tom Weiser, director of business of operations for Fairfield Schools, says invisible to the eye is one of the most innovative features of the district’s recently opened schools. Each of the three schools’ campuses have miles of piping buried hundreds of feet down as part of geo thermal heating and cooling systems.
Tom Weiser, director of business of operations for Fairfield Schools, says invisible to the eye is one of the most innovative features of the district’s recently opened schools. Each of the three schools’ campuses have miles of piping buried hundreds of feet down as part of geo thermal heating and cooling systems.

The three new schools just opened in Fairfield dazzle with the latest in education architecture, but you have to look hundreds of feet underground to see one of their most innovative parts.

RELATED STORY & VIDEO: Fairfield makes history with 3 new schools

Buried under the campuses of each of the schools — Fairfield Freshman, Compass and Central elementaries — are geothermal systems with miles of pipes inside small wells dug down 450 feet.

The constant temperatures underground — in Ohio an average of about 46 degrees — are used to maintain the water temperatures in the pipes to reduce the energy needed to either cool or heat the water and therefore the school buildings.

“We chose the geothermal system because it is the most economical way to heat and cool a building,” explained Tom Weiser, director of business operations for Fairfield Schools.

MORE: Fairfield Schools’ ‘superhero’ boy graduates from high school 12 years early

“The payback on the additional cost of installing this type of system was estimated at a payback of five years on the elementaries and seven years on the Freshman building,” said Weiser.

The 10,000-student Fairfield Schools opened the three new schools Sept. 5.

The Freshman School shares the high school campus and has 145,000 square feet and 50 classrooms. The new elementary schools are identical with 90,366 square feet and 34 classrooms.

MORE: 5 things to know about Fairfield Schools opening

Weiser said, “at both elementaries there are 60 wells that were drilled straight down 450 feet each. At the freshman school there are 110 wells at 450 feet deep. When you consider that a line goes down 450 feet and loops back up 450 feet and take this by the number of wells, there are 10 miles of piping in the geo field at the elementaries and 18 miles of pipe at the freshman building.”

“The water from the geo fields is circulated through the building to heat pumps that uses the constant temperature water to make heat or cooling for the building,” he said. “The payback on the additional cost of installing this type of system was estimated at a payback of five years on the elementaries and seven years on the freshman building.”

Edgewood Schools in rural Butler County also installed a similar geothermal system under the campus of its high school, which was opened in 2012.

John Thomas, Edgewood’s director of business operations, said the system works.

“It’s been a great system for us and we are seeing savings,” said Thomas.

Saving taxpayer money was the prime motivation for Fairfield school officials’ decision to try the district’s first geothermal system, said Fairfield spokeswoman Gina Gentry-Fletcher.

“It makes sense that we use a geothermal heating and cooling system in our new schools, not only for environmental reasons, but also for its energy and cost efficiency. We will reap many benefits at the start and also long term for students and staff,” said Gentry-Fletcher.

Weiser said another advantage of the system is that longevity.

“These systems are very reliable with few moving parts. The geo fields should serve the buildings for the term of their existence and are guaranteed for 50 years.”

How safe are the roads around your child’s school?

Published: Thursday, September 14, 2017 @ 10:11 PM

One in three drivers engages in unsafe behavior around schools, according to a study of distracted driving.

The study also showed the more urban the county, the riskier the roads. Some members of Congress want to use this data to push for more grants to improve transportation safety.

"Student safety is by far our No. 1 priority,” Fairmont High School Principal Tyler Alexander said this afternoon as school was dismissing for the day. “Distracted driving is an issue we want our students to understand the ramifications of ... and to be safe.”

Fairmont High School in Kettering scored a B+ in the Zendrive School Safety Snapshot, which lists grades for most schools across the country.

While the high school does not staff crossing guards, it has a Kettering Police Department school resource officer and security guards in the parking lots that help direct students and buses.

“We’re dismissing 2,400 students at one time, so it is busy but we have a pretty good routine that I feel is extremely safe for students as well as drivers in the community,” Tyler said.

A look at several area high schools shows that Meadowdale, Tippecanoe and Troy high schools earned As; Xenia High School also got a B+; Greenville, Preble-Shawnee and Stivers School for the Arts earned Bs; Eaton High School earned a C; a score of C- went to Beavercreek, Miamisburg and West Carrollton high schools; and Centerville High School earned a D+, according to the study.