live video


Oakwood proposals range from fixes to new schools, but both are costly

Published: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 @ 11:55 PM


            Oakwood High School students study in the entryway of the building during their lunch period. The Oakwood City School District scored number one in Ohio in the “Prepared for Success” measurement, according to the Ohio school report cards data released last fall. TY GREENLEES/STAFF
            Ty Greenlees
Oakwood High School students study in the entryway of the building during their lunch period. The Oakwood City School District scored number one in Ohio in the “Prepared for Success” measurement, according to the Ohio school report cards data released last fall. TY GREENLEES/STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

Oakwood school officials presented seven school facility options to residents Wednesday, ranging from a comprehensive renovation of all existing facilities at $48 million, to $102 million for those renovations plus a new high school and early learning center building.

The 200-person community meeting stretched more than three hours – going over spreadsheets and building diagrams, breaking into small-group discussions, and firing questions at Superintendent Kyle Ramey and others.

RELATED: Oakwood weighs school renovations; residents urge restraint

“We have beautiful old buildings. We know that, and we want to preserve them and pass them along to the next generation,’ Ramey said. “They continue to serve us well, but we have a responsibility to leave them better than we found them.”

The seven options mixed and matched a variety of proposals in different ways, but there are two big changes in some of the plans. One is construction of a new high school plus performing arts and gym space where Mack Hummon Stadium stands today, with a new football stadium being built just east where the baseball field is today.

The other big proposal in some project options is discontinuing use of the Lange School on Dorothy Lane and constructing a two-story early learning center between Smith Elementary and the Wright Library. The proposals include moving certain grade levels to new buildings.

RELATED: Oakwood voters renewed facilities levy in May

Finances were a major focus of the evening. Even the cheapest option the district listed had an estimated property tax cost of $264 per year for a $100,000 home, for 37 years. That renovation option would include extensive replacement of school heating, plumbing, lighting and electrical systems, as well as roofs, windows and more.

Several residents questioned the price tags, wondering if that level of investment was necessary for a district that is the highest academic performer in the region in their current 1920s-era buildings.

“I did ask for another option that, for now, that the bare minimum things are taken care of,” Oakwood parent Mayumi Hall said. “I think we’re trying to spend money that we don’t have. I don’t want the community to change. I don’t want to drive people away.”

RELATED: Oakwood High School No. 1 in Ohio on test scores

Ramey said the money could come from some mix of new bond or permanent improvement levies, private donors, or state facility funding (if Oakwood qualified and agreed to the strings that come with it). The listed price tags assume all local funding.

Other residents encouraged the school district to plan aggressively for future generations, increasing classroom size to state standards and adding space for performing arts and student collaboration.

“Some of these are band-aids to solve a problem, which we should definitely do at the bare minimum,” said Oakwood parent Sam Dorf. “But this is a great opportunity for us to really grow — to imagine the school rooms and learning spaces for the future.”

OAKWOOD: Emails shed light on school position in Turner case

Asked whether those bigger, more flexible classrooms really mattered when Oakwood students were already succeeding academically, school board member Cassie Darr said it would allow teachers to do more of the small-group and project-based work that colleges and employers are focusing on.

In small-group sessions, residents were concerned about potential loss of green space for new buildings, classroom size and student count, as well as traffic and parking issues.

Jill Aldineh, a vocal opponent of major changes, said with enrollment not projected to grow, significant spending is a mistake, especially with Oakwood tax rates already very high. She argued that the district has not been open enough about its plans and finances.

RELATED: Bond refinancing saves Oakwood schools $1 million

Oakwood parent James O’Hara had a different outlook, saying he loved that the district is presenting lots of data at public meetings and on its website.

“We need data, we need information, we need to be able to know what’s possible,” O’Hara said. “I love the setting we have here tonight, where we’re learning and being involved as a community, and we’re a part of it together.”

Ramey said the school district will have a town hall meeting about the various facilities options March 21 at Oakwood High School. Eventually, the school board will decide whether to put a levy or bond issue on the ballot, in November or some future election, and at what millage depending on community input.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Centerville school district hires new director of student services

Published: Friday, June 15, 2018 @ 8:35 AM


            Centerville City Schools has named Tammy Drerup as the Director of Student Services, beginning Aug. 1.
Centerville City Schools has named Tammy Drerup as the Director of Student Services, beginning Aug. 1.

Centerville City Schools has named Tammy Drerup as the districts new director of student services. Drerup will begin her new post beginning Aug. 1.

Drerup comes into the new position after serving as the director of Special Education for Sidney City Schools since 2013. She said she is looking forward to joining the school district.

“I am honored to be the next Director of Student Services for Centerville City Schools,” Drerup said. “After interviewing with a variety of staff members from across the district, I am confident I am joining a team which shares my values and puts students first. I am grateful for my time in Sidney City Schools, as they have helped me develop my skills in advocating for all children. I am excited to begin the 2018-19 school year as a Centerville Elk.”

TRENDING: There’s one part of Dayton’s newly changed dog chaining law that concerns some supporters

Drerup has 25 years of experience in education, including roles as an intervention specialist, curriculum specialist, early intervention coordinator and Director of Special Education.

In her new position, Drerup will oversee a variety of programs for Centerville Schools, including special education, Section 504 plans, programming for English Language Learners, school health, home instruction, gifted acceleration, and school attendance and truancy.

The position was posted in April, and a committee reviewed more than 40 resumes before interviewing seven internal and external applicants prior to making its selection according to school officials.

Drerup’s contract is expected to be approved by the Centerville Board of Education during its June 18 work session.

She will replace Laura Collier, who has accepted another position within the district after serving as director of Student Services for three years.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Ms. Drerup to the Centerville City Schools in the capacity of Student Services Director,” said Centerville’s Director of Human Resources Dan Tarpey. “She brings excellent credentials to the district with a genuine commitment towards maintaining the excellent programming already in place in the Student Services Department.”

Trending - Most Read Stories

One of the area’s most historic schools was sold off today, one chalkboard and plastic heart at a time

Published: Saturday, June 09, 2018 @ 4:25 PM

The former Middletown HS was the site of a public auction Saturday and everything was for sale.

There were Middletown Middie memories for sale on Saturday during a public auction in the historic and soon-to-be-demolished old high school.

A pair of auctioneers went from classroom to classroom, moving almost as fast they rattled off cut-rate bargain prices for anything left in the former Middletown High School, which is the oldest school building in Butler County.

MORE: Middletown students will soon be learning in new middle school

Want a book cart on wheels? It was yours for $5 — and maybe even $3 if dented.

How about a plastic replica of the human heart from the old science lab?

Or a thick, wooden classroom door? Or a chalkboard? Sheets of plexiglass used in ceramics class? Yours for 75 cents each.

The public was allowed into Butler County’s oldest school for the last time Saturday as almost everything was up for auction in the old Middletown High School. Dozens filed through during the day - many of them graduates of the historic school, which in recent years had served as the city schools’ middle school. The school, which opened in 1923, will soon be demolished.(Photo by Michael D. Clark/Journal-News)(Staff Writer)

Dozens of potential buyers — and among them the simply curious — wandered around the old school for the last time as Middletown school officials prepare to clear out and gut the building in preparation for its demolition.

Used in recent years as a middle school, the old Middletown High School first opened to students in 1923, while Warren G. Harding was president of the United States.

The massive, nearly city block-long school was once Middletown High School and the storied home for the city’s sports legends – including NBA Hall Of Famer Jerry Lucas - and tens of thousands of graduates.

MORE: Famed basketball arena for Middletown Middies closes down for new facility

The public was allowed into Butler County’s oldest school for the last time Saturday as almost everything was up for auction in the old Middletown High School. Dozens filed through during the day - many of them graduates of the historic school, which in recent years had served as the city schools’ middle school. The school, which opened in 1923, will soon be demolished.(Photo by Michael D. Clark/Journal-News)(Staff Writer)

One of them was Suzanne Tadych. Her children then attended the school when it was converted to a middle school.

“We are having fun today finding our old lockers and going to our old homerooms,” said the Middletown resident.

She came with friends who were looking to buy school items, but Tadych said “we really wanted to reminisce and explore.”

“It’s part of our history and our family. It holds a lot of memories and it’s something you can connect to the generation before that went to high school here so it’s kind of a connection we all have,” she said.

Middletown High School graduate Cheryl Kruer said, “so many memories and sad feelings about what’s going to happen to this building but I’m glad I’m here today because it’s surreal.”
The public was allowed into Butler County’s oldest school for the last time Saturday as almost everything was up for auction in the old Middletown High School. Dozens filed through during the day - many of them graduates of the historic school, which in recent years had served as the city schools’ middle school. The school, which opened in 1923, will soon be demolished.(Photo by Michael D. Clark/Journal-News)(Staff Writer)

Trending - Most Read Stories

What will be different at Fairborn’s new school building? ‘Just about everything’

Published: Saturday, June 02, 2018 @ 10:44 AM

Fairborn breaks ground for new school

As officials gathered last week to break ground on the Fairborn Primary School, school board President Andrew Wilson was asked what will be different in the new building.

“Just about everything,” he said.

The new school will replace a 60-year-old, outdated building, officials said. The new two-story, 132,000-square-foot building will be constructed next to the playground at the current PreK-2 school. It will cost between $26 and $27 million and accommodate 1,214 students and 110 employees. The design incorporates colors and suggestions from staff.

Students will remain in the existing primary school until fall 2020, when they will move to the new school. Intermediate students will then move from the school on Dellwood Drive to the former primary school while a new intermediate school is built. In summer 2022, the city plans to demolish the old primary school, and intermediate students will return to a new school on Dellwood Drive that fall.

RELATED: Fairborn voters approve two new schools

Moving intermediate students into the current PreK-2 school will prevent the district from needing to create a temporary space for those students and save money, they said.

The 2.95-mil bond levy funding construction for the new primary and intermediate school buildings passed by nearly 60 percent in November.

At a Friday morning groundbreaking ceremony at the current primary school, a few hundred staff members, teachers and parents celebrated the new building. Fairborn Mayor Paul Keller said in his speech that the building is “a huge step forward” for the city.

Keller said the current building doesn’t have the correct power distribution to handle modern equipment and computers. When it rains, water runs across the floor. Staff have been taping fans to electrical components to keep them from overheating.

PHOTOS: See drawings of the new Fairborn PreK-2 School

The old building has a sprawling layout. Wilson said there are probably a half-mile of corridors inside it. That poses challenges when staff move students around the buildings for events such as tutoring.

“Right now it probably takes five minutes to go and get the student and then five minutes to walk him back,” he said.

The new building will be more compact. It will also have centralized air conditioning, while the old building only has window units.

Rooms in the new building will be paired together with removeable dividers. The gymnasium meets the requirements to serve as a tornado shelter.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Cheryl Wylie, who works as a special education aid to kindergarten students.

RELATED: Fairborn council approves plan for new primary school

Wylie is most excited for the separate bathroom that will be attached to the room where the aids work with students. Current bathroom layouts would make it difficult for aids to assist students in wheelchairs who wear diapers, she said.

No students who use wheelchairs currently attend the school, but Wylie said it’s good for the school to be prepared in the future.

Keller brought up the Fairborn slogan, “a city in motion,” and said the new buildings are part of several new improvements for the city, including economic development and new housing.

RELATED: Fairborn schools to start construction on new elementary in 2018

“With these new schools, we really have the ingredients to put our city in motion,” Keller said.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Mason High School, Ohio’s largest, names new principal

Published: Saturday, May 26, 2018 @ 9:38 AM


            Bobby Dodd meets Mason High School teachers, Mason community leaders, parents and students on Friday, May 25. CONTRIBUTED
Bobby Dodd meets Mason High School teachers, Mason community leaders, parents and students on Friday, May 25. CONTRIBUTED

The Mason City Schools Board of Education this week unanimously approved hiring Robert “Bobby” Dodd as Mason High School principal beginning Aug. 1.

Dodd will replace Dave Hyatt, who is retiring at the end of the school year and moving to Vermont.

MORE: Former Kettering principal named Mason superintendent

“We love Mr. Dodd’s commitment to connection, his experience, and exciting vision — especially his mantra of working collaboratively to find ways to say ‘yes’ to students in order to honor their ideas, hopes, and dreams,” said Jonathan Cooper, Mason’s deputy superintendent who will become superintendent on July 1.

“He is a student-centered instructional leader who is excited to co-create the next iteration of MHS.”

Dodd has served as the principal of Gahanna Lincoln High School since 2014 and was the principal of New Lexington High School for three years prior to that.

RELATED: Mason principal stepping down

Dodd developed digital academies, college summer camps, a fabrication laboratory that includes a graphics design lab which manufactures and produces products for sale around the world, Early College High School and personalized learning environments, Mason said in a news release announcing his hiring.

Dodd has received awards for his contributions as a connected educator including the 2016 NASSP National Digital Principal of the Year award.

“As difficult as it is to leave Gahanna Lincoln, I am excited to be a part of the Mason City Schools team. I can’t wait to start building relationships and help our students, staff and community do amazing things. Mason High School is one of the finest schools in the state and I hope to work with all of our stakeholders to continue the tradition of excellence,” Dodd said in the release.

MORE: 40 percent absent after Mason High school threat

Dodd received a bachelor’s degree in history from John Carroll University in 1995, a law degree from St. Thomas University in Miami Lakes, Fla., in 1999, a bachelor’s degree in information technology from DeVry University in 2000 and a Master of Arts in educational leadership from the University of Cincinnati in 2009.

Dodd and his wife, Charity, have three children, Sydney, Kaitlyn, and Sophia.

Trending - Most Read Stories