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Drug-testing proposal remains in limbo

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:50 PM

A decision on random drug testing could be one step closer at Norwalk's public schools after the school board holds a work session at 4 p.m. April 4.

Board president Mike Grose told those in attendance at Tuesday night's regular board meeting that the board is keeping an open mind and it has yet to discuss the issue fully. Members of the board have received some material from the exploratory committee and have had the opportunity to ask them to address their individual questions. The committee has met four times, Superintendent Wayne Babcanec said.

While the work session at Norwalk High School is open to the public, it will not include time for members of the community to address the board. The board will be happy to accept written statements.

The board has heard many people during regular board meetings. It needs the work session closed to public participation to facilitate discussion among the board members, president Mike Grose said.

The board cannot hold a vote on policy at a work session.

In other news:

The May meeting was moved to 4:30 p.m. because it is election day.

Babcanec and Assistant Superintendent Mike Gordon informed the board that they are negotiating with Christie Lane to take over its pre-school program at the Gerken Center. The program is for students with the greatest special needs, Gordon said. It currently includes three students, though the administrators said they believed there is the potential for greater enrollment.

Taking it over would require hiring another teacher and an aide and paying rent on the room. While some additional funding would be available for the program, Gordon guessed it would probably not cover the total costs. However, because these students would otherwise have to leave the county to get similar services, they feel it is worth the expense.

A coalition of 12 state agencies has asked the board to seek signatures on a petition to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to change the school funding system. During discussion, board members expressed concern that no hard numbers have been provided to indicate the change would be a financial win for the district.

Babcanec told the board that an alumni gathering is scheduled for Aug. 19. It is the next step in a campaign to get a strong alumni association going.

The board recognized Gretchen Gerken and Jane Kluding for their leadership of "An Elegant Evening for the Arts," which raised more than $33,000 for the schools' endowment.

The board recognized eighth-grader Samantha Souslin, Her artwork was one of 125 chosen for the 2007 Youth Art Month Exhibition held by the Ohio Art Education Association.

They also recognized Zaccaheus Hunter, 4th grade, India Islam, 4th grade, Ryan Jordan, 7th grade, and Allison Marchione, 7th grade, for being selected for the 27th annual Young People's Art Exhibition, also sponsored by the OAEA.

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