September 17, 2012
The Olentangy Project 2020 committee tasked with facility recommendations for the district is preparing for an early spring recommendation date after about a year’s worth of research and discussion on how to deal with the district’s expanding student base.
Project 2020 chairman Martin Johnson presented the group’s time line on getting the research, analysis, report and recommendation to the board by April 4, 2012. The data collection is expected to be completed by Dec. 15, then analyzed by Feb. 1.
During this time, the group wants to receive as much input as possible from district stakeholders in order to get backing on whatever recommendation might be selected, Johnson said.
Earlier this month, a support group of the committee presented five potential facility options that include building high school No. 4; expanding the three existing high schools; reconfiguring the grades, which has been proven to be not viable; building a stand-alone facility; or acquiring and renovating an existing facility.
These options are just that and no recommendations have been made yet, Johnson said. Other parts of the plan will build into what option would be best, including the educational delivery and scheduling portion. That support group will analyze how the district defines its school day and year and see if there are opportunities to adjust the schedule or “virtually” expand without physically expanding.
With continued student enrollment and decreased state funding, the Project 2020 group is looking to minimize the “brick and mortar” approach as the solution to increased children in the district, yet still drive continuous educational improvement.
Key considerations in studying this issue include student performance, community acceptance, financial sustainability and the schools’ culture and high school experience, Johnson said.
After hearing the group’s time line, Olentangy board member Scott Galloway was worried that the group would be able to get all the work done by the set deadline.
“I’m growing more concerned about the timeline,” Galloway said. “Are we sure we will hit those dates? It will be getting to where there’s some critical decision making to be made.”
Superintendent Wade Lucas assured Galloway that he had confidence in the committee to complete its work in time for the board to make a decision.
“Having the report is nice, but it’s when that report is done is when the real work starts,” Lucas told the board.