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Kenton City Schools Superintendent Jennifer Penczarski outlined some reorganization and programming changes at the school board meeting Monday night.
The district officially agreed to align with the Auglaize County Educational Service Center after obtaining many services from that organization over the past year.
Auglaize County will become Kenton’s primary service provider and will receive approximately $12,350 in administration fees annually based on $6.50 per student.
KCS receives such services as curriculum, teacher evaluation, professional development for administrators, bullying training and help with the Race to the Top program from Auglaize County, Penczarski previously reported.
But the district will continue to contract with the Hardin County ESC for services, approving a contract for services totaling $239,915. That is lower than the original proposal of $255,630.80.
“Hardin County ESC has done a great job trying to be competitive,” Penczarski said.
She especially praised the emotionally disturbed classes at Riverdale operated by the Hardin County ESC. “We’re lucky to have that,” she said.
Another change is that Kenton will take over education of Students With Severe Disabilities, now housed at Eastcrest and operated by the Hardin ESC. The elementary unit will be moved to Espy Elementary, with other units at the middle school and high school.
The Hardin County ESC will move its SWSD unit to Upper Scioto Valley.
“We as a district have a lot of kids in the SWSD program,” Penczarski said, and it made more sense to keep it in house. Another plus is that by being at Espy, the SWSD students will be integrated with other elementrary students instead of being by themselves at Eastcrest.
The Auglaize County ESC will be the fiscal agent and will be hiring three teachers and three aides.
Ridgemont also will continue to send its SWSD students to Kenton, Penczarski said. She said the change will save Kenton about $42,000 annually.
The superintendent said KCS also will take on administrative responsibility for students who opt to take classes online. There are now 12 Kenton students in the virtual academy program Oasis operated by the Hardin County ESC.
Kenton now pays $4,500 per student or $54,000 for the Oasis program
A new position of associate principal will be created and will be responsbile for overseeing the online program for students in grades 7-12, she said. Penczarski said the Kenton students who complete the program will be Kenton graduates.
Another academic change will be coming to Espy Elementary. That school now has three third-grade classes, but only two classrooms each for fourth and fifth grade. To balance class sizes, Penczarski said 15 current Espy third graders will be sent to either Hardin Central or Northwood for fourth grade.
Finally, she said, the district is looking into revamping its gifted program.
By TIM THOMAS