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Toronto gets stadium grant

December 22, 2012
By MARK J. MILLER - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

TORONTO - City school district board members learned of the district's acquisition of a $50,000 grant for stadium lighting during Thursday's board meeting.

The grant will help fund a substantial portion of the newly renovated stadium's lighting system, according to Fred Burns, district superintendent.

"We received a $50,000 grant from the Pugliese Charitable Foundation to help pay for the stadium lighting at Clarke Hinkle Field," said Burns. "There are many activities (at the stadium) besides just school functions."

Burns said Maureen Taggart, high school principal and district communications coordinator, wrote the grant proposal.

"The (grant proposal) was accepted, and we already have a check," he added. "We haven't had a chance to move on with the stadium lighting, but this grant will allow us to finish."

The total project cost to provide new lighting and light poles will cost about $85,000, Burns said, and "this will be $50,000 of that $85,000 right there. We've already finished the wiring for the lighting system when we renovated the stadium, but we haven't put up the poles or the lights."

In other business:

Burns said educator Lynda Glenn updated the board on upcoming teacher-required guidelines by the federal and state governments and the district's progress on its academic plan to meet those standards.

"Lynda Glenn gave us a report on the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System," said Burns, adding the state and federal governments are establishing academic benchmarks for teachers. "It has to do with changes on how teachers will be evaluated by the district and the state."

The government is requiring each school district to devise its own plan for improving academic performance, Burns said, adding the district has elected to participate in the federal government's Race to the Top program, which provides dollars for professional development.

"Fifty percent of the evaluation has to do with goals teachers have written and (test results) from actual state testing (by pupils and students). We have to develop guidelines that have to be approved by the federal government."

The board also accepted a donation from a Toronto High School alumni for new iPads for pupils and students, Burns said.

"Jon Rogers, a graduate of Toronto High School, gave us 20 iPads to be used by the special needs classes at the high school," said Burns, adding the donation amounted to $13,139.

Burns said board members were grateful for the donation.

The board voted Thursday to allow successful pupils and students participating in band, cheering or athletics a waiver to skip physical education classes as long as they take another academic class instead of physical education, said Burns.

"They can't just skip phys ed," he said, adding students and pupils wishing to do so must follow the waiver guidelines. "They can only apply for the waiver if they are taking another academic class."

Burns said the board accepted the retirement of Ed Woolums, district psychologist, during the meeting.

"He's been with us for for 10 or 12 years," said Burns. "The entire district loves him. He will be missed."

The district successfully passed a state food inspection conducted on Nov. 29 with an excellent rating, according to Burns.

There will be a special board meeting at 5 p.m. on Jan. 22 at Karaffa Elementary School to consider the district's strategic academic plan.

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