We have something to be proud of in our public schools.
Four of the six schools in the Norwalk district have been designated "Excellent," Superintendent Wayne Babcanec reported at Tuesday night's school board meeting. "Excellent" is the highest rating a school can achieve.
In addition, Pleasant and League elementaries both were named "Schools of Promise." Schools of promise are schools that meet similar requirements while having a poverty rate of 40 percent or more.
"They're excellent schools who are excellent in spite of their high poverty rate," Babcanec explained.
The school report cards establish standards for accountability and that's good, Babcanec said. But while all schools are held to the same standard, they do not start with the same students. This award is particularly valuable, he said, because it is the state's recognition of that.
League and Pleasant were the only two schools in the Erie, Huron, Ottawa, and Lorain counties to qualify for the award.
Maplehurst would also have qualified for the award, however, its poverty rate is 39.65 percent, Assistant Superintendent Mike Gordon said.
In other business:
The board discussed the final phase of the window replacement project replacing the windows and doors at the district's central office. Replacing all windows and doors will cost $231,000 in permanent improvement funds. John Lendrum noted that if they start improving the building there are several other things that need to be done. The building is already planned to receive a new roof at a cost of $32,000. It will also need a new heating system and to be made handicapped accessible.
Board members estimated the total cost at $400,000.
The board accepted Capitol Aluminum and Glass Corp.'s bid for the window replacement project.
Babcanec reported that House Bill 315, currently being considered by the state legislature, would be disastrous for the district's finances. The bill would require increases in contributions for retirement, and would cost the district $600,000 in the phase-in period alone, Treasurer Kenn France said.