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Band program, facilities and buses discussed

By GARY RICHARDS • May 22, 2019 at 5:00 PM

GREENWICH — About 10 students and their parents voiced their concerns and opinions about the direction of the band program and other issues during the South Central school board meeting Monday night at the high school.

Parents and students expressed their support for the current band teacher, as well as for the advisers for cheerleading, dance and other extra-curricular activities. Parents told the board members how important these programs, teachers and advisers are and have been to their children, how the band program has drawn positive attention to the school while at the same time being a huge money-maker for the school. They also said changes need to be made with scheduling so students can take band at convenient times for them.

In his report to the board, Superintendent Ben Chaffee Jr. said the facilities advisory committee has been having solid and very consistent attendance at its meetings, ranging from 45 to 50 people. He indicated the group is very interested in extended student learning options at the school with the possibility of having rooms with removable walls, for example, to make for a better learning environment and teaching experience in the future.

The committee currently was divided about whether to renovate the existing school buildings or to replace them outright, Chaffee said. The superintendent indicated, however, they are only in the initial stages and currently are gathering community input to determine what the community would support in terms of a facilities project in the future.

Chaffee said there will be a very important community meeting at 7 p.m. June 25 in the elementary/middle school cafeteria to discuss the facilities project. He also said architects haven't provided the costs involved yet, but should be able to provide more information at the meeting.

Those people who are interested in learning more about this project or who would like to voice their opinion are encouraged to attend. For more information, call Superintendent Ben Chaffee at 419-752-3815 or school board president Tom Lucha. Or residents can visit the school website at www.south-central.org.

As for getting South Central students to and from school and to extra-curricular activities away from the school, Chaffee and district treasurer Christina Warrick said the district is planning to acquire two new buses to add the existing fleet. One would be purchased outright, while the other would be leased.

One vehicle would be a traditional 78-passenger bus to be used on regular routes, while the other would be a smaller, handicapped-accessible bus to be used for field trips. Administrators said bus No. 12 will be traded in. Warrick said the district hopes to acquire the new buses by July, if at all possible. And, for keeping all of those students safe while riding existing and newly acquired buses, bus drivers will be receiving CPR training before June 4.

In other action, Warrick said South Central's five-year forecast looks good, which is very good news for the school, the community and for everyone connected in some way to the school.

Also, this year's graduating class of 2019 will involve 41 students, which is much smaller than usual, said high school Principal Thomas Hellickson. He also said many graduating classes in recent years have been averaging between 50 to 60 students. 

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