Michael D. Clark and Sue Kiesewetter report:
Thousands of students in four northern suburbs are starting the school year in new schools.
In Butler County, Talawanda and Edgewood schools open newly constructed high schools and in Warren County’s Little Miami Schools, two previously shuttered schools are being prepared to open soon.
And Wednesday Mason Schools – Warren County’s largest school system – starts an historical experiment with the first school consolidation in the top-rated district’s history.
More than 1,800 students – including 180 from the Catholic Royalmont Academy – have been shifted to new schools starting Wednesday.
Officials at the 11,000-student district closed Mason Heights Elementary, shifting hundreds of students to Western Row Elementary and the Mason Early Childhood Center. The Mason Heights building was then sold to Royalmont, which is moving from its much smaller Mason school campus into a bigger school.
“It’s just great,” Tony Feraro, executive director of Royalmont, said Tuesday. “We’ve gone from 23,000 square feet to 105,000 square feet and it’s a remarkable facility.”
Mason’s shifting of about 1,600 students to different schools has gone well, said Tracey Carson, spokeswoman for the district.
“Not only is the plan really coming together, but so are our students – literally. Our principals and teachers have done an outstanding job of making this historic step for our district go smoothly,” she said.
Little Miami Schools remain under state control and in “fiscal emergency” But a tax levy approval by voters in fall 2011 – after eight ballot rejections – has the Warren County district headed toward solvency and return of local autonomy in 2013.
The district’s enrollment is growing again and two schools – Harlen-Butlerville and Hamilton-Maineville – that closed in recent years as the district sank into financial distress are being re-opened.
Little Miami Superintendent Greg Power said the community supported the re-opening of the two buildings.
“Our current enrollment numbers are showing a nearly 400student increase over our population last year,’’ Power said. “If we hadn’t opened these schools, overcrowding would have made it next to impossible to provide a quality learning environment for our students.”
The new Talawanda High School began classes Monday, welcoming nearly 1,100 students and a new Edgewood High School opened its doors Tuesday with more than 1,150 students.
Posted in: Schools |