By RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
NEW BOSTON — The New Boston School Board of Education last week approved making its high school building available for sale to the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center (SCOESC).
Currently located on Court Street in Portsmouth, the SCOESC was first established in 1914 as the county school. In 2005, the State of Ohio reorganized the function of all county schools to become “Education Service Centers.” Today, they serve 17 school districts in Adams, Jackson and Scioto counties, with programs such as alternative school, special education, even start, and ABLE (adult basic literacy education).
“The state each year is cutting the amount of ESC funding. We’ve taken 10 percent cuts this year and 15 percent cuts this coming year. Economically we are exploring the possibilities of whether we can save money by the leasing or purchase of other facilities,” SCOESC Superintendent Lowell Howard said.
The SCOESC Governing Board is considering three options.
“We’re talking to these people (at our current residence) about the cost and whether we could see some reduction. We’ve looked at the New Boston facility. We’ve looked at Portsmouth West; the middle school that is now owned by an athletic association. Those are the three current facilities that we’re looking at at this point, and that’s not to rule out that we won’t be reviewing more,” Howard said.
During a regular meeting of the New Boston School Board last week, the board authorized an offer to sell the high school to the SCOESC for $100,000. The SCOESC School Board has received the offer and will review it this week.
Howard might have a personal attachment to the New Boston building. He spent 32 years employed with the New Boston School District, including 23 years as superintendent. He left the district in 2003.
The current New Boston elementary and middle schools — Stanton and Oak, respectively — were built in 1913, and the high school was built in 1917. New Boston Superintendent Mike Staggs said Oak and Stanton schools will be torn down later this year, but the high school has been well-maintained over the decades and will be saved.
In 2008, the school district passed a local tax issue to build a new school building on Lakeview Avenue for grades Pre-K through 12. Staggs said the school construction is running a little behind schedule but will still be ready for the 2012-13 school year. Originally planned to finish in July, Staggs said the new completion date is Aug. 15.
The new school year begins Aug. 16.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 2235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.