By: James Pruitt
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
North Central Local School officials are excited about getting a chance to move in to their new high school.
The reason for their excitement is the Aug. 26 inspection which will clear the way to move staff in. Currently, the school can only bring in equipment and supplies.
Crews are installing flooring in the west hallway and running internet wiring throughout the building, and wiring up equipment in the cafeteria, Superintendent Kenneth Boyer. Concrete sidewalks and curbing will be installed if the area doesn’t get too much rain. The new furniture was scheduled to be delivered Aug. 22, he said.
School officials are looking at a dedication ceremony during the last Sunday in September.
In other news, school officials told a parent of a choir student they would revisit the schedule to see if choir could be offered during the day. Right now it is an Early Bird class that would start at 7 a.m.
The parent, Kim Hutchinson, was concerned that choir seemed to be the odd man out by being the Early Bird class and that it would only be worth a half credit. She wants all fine arts classes treated equally.
When Hutchinson’s daughter looked at her schedule at the end of the last school year, Choir was a 5th period class. Now that the former choir teacher has left, the only option is the Early Bird class, Hutchinson said.
“I don’t feel the best interests of the students were taken into consideration,” Hutchinson said. “I feel like we bend over backwards for the band and now athletics, but not for anything else.
I feel like the band is successful and Mr. (Jason) Luthy does a great job. Maybe if we did this with other things like choir, they would be equally successful.”
Hutchinson said was concerned the school would incur extra cost to provide transportation for student who don’t drive. The class could impose on families where both parents work and rely on older siblings to take care of the younger ones, she said.
All of this could be avoided if choir was offered during the day, Hutchinson said.
Safety was another issue as students would be required to walk to school in the dark, Hutchinson said. The students will be required to perform at the same concerts, just not for a full credit.
Boyer agreed the class was a concern and said he would take a look at it again.
Hutchinson was not impressed, but Board of Education President Jim Fee said the parent had provided a wealth of information without warning and having a prepared answer was impossible.
High School Principal Tim Rettig said the new choir director told him he liked the idea of bringing all the choir students together at one time and rebuilding the program. The teacher, Donald Slamka, is an internationally renowned vocal instructor, Rettig said.
“We’ve struggled choir-wise for the four years I have been here,” Rettig said. “We’ve got great kids in there, I make no qualms about that.
“But he thought he could grow the choir as an Early Bird. When he told me that, that’s the one thing that sort of made the decision.”
A van has been secured for transportation, although most of the students drive already, Rettig said.
“This was a chance for us to do things like that,” the principal said. “Yes, Mr. Luthy probably has in excess of 250 students on a fairly regular basis. Was I trying to get him some help? No question; I won’t deny that at all.”
Luthy is planning on taking student to New York this year and the school has hired someone who can do similar work the former choir teacher did, Rettig said.
“But we have somebody who is a vocal expert, I feel,” Rettig said. “And believes he can grow that choir.”
Having one choir class in a seven-period day was not possible, Rettig said. The choir used to be quite large when the school was on an eight-period day, he said.
Now, the band has 70-80 kids and with other classes like art, science and physics, it becomes quite complex. The principal returned to Slamka’s statement about wanting the choir students in one place to grow the program as defense of the decision to forego a daytime class.
Hutchinson was not satisfied, arguing that students need a full credit of fine arts to graduate and the Early Bird class won’t give them that.
The credit issue will be looked at and the parent will be notified, Fee said.
In other news:
The Elementary School looks to have a full kindergarten class with 33 registered through Aug. 16, Principal Paul Jones said. Pre-K has 14 kids.
“Our kindergarten and Pre-K is pretty large this year,” Jones said. “Although we have more Pre-K this year, last year we had more kindergarten. The numbers for kindergarten are pretty good.”
Scheduling should be completed by the end of the week, Jones said.
Staffing changes include Amanda Blohm switching from fourth grade to third grade, replacing Brent Saneholtz. Renee Reiser who move from kindergarten to the resource room. Patrick Doty is new and will be the sixth grade intervention specialist. Joy Beck will be the Resource Room teacher. Lori Masters will be the preschool teacher.
Several new teachers will join the high school staff.
Ludmilla Ford, a native of Brazil who has lived in Mexico, is the new high school Spanish teacher. Gerri Masters, a veteran Language Arts teacher from Camden, will be on staff for a year. She had retired and moved to Africa but is back now before heading out to Africa again.
The board approved one-year supplemental contracts for the following certified employees:
-Sarah Luthy SADD adviser; Parker Maas, Band section leader. Gerri Masters, annual director and adviser; Donald Slamka, Early Bird Choir and Sally Wheeler, Jr. High Faculty Manager.
The board approved one-year supplemental contracts for the following classified employee:
-Bralyn Martin, ninth-grade volleyball.
An open house is scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. Aug. 30.
The board approved employment for Ford, MA, zero years’ experience; Lori Masters, full-time preschool instructor, BA, 10 years’ experience; Bev Black, JH/HS Educational Aide (full time).
The board accepted the following resignations:
Carolyn Hopper, Stephanie Ruffer and Krystal Beres.
The board approved handbooks for coaches, JH/HS Student/Parent athletics and JH/HS teachers.
Jared Stewart talked about the success of Eagle Mania, a spirit-building event attended by 200-300 people. “It was a good start to the year,” Stewart said.
Another event, Eagle Madness, is set for Nov. 11. A spring event is planned as well.
The board approved an agreement with Midwest Community Health Associates for athletic trainer service at no cost for the school year.
The next school board meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27 in the new high school conference room.
James Pruitt may be reached at