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Published: Wednesday, 7/6/2011

Rossford board overturns school-switch decision

BY ZOE GORMAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Cody Kahn, 11, was dreading the start of the school year more than usual. This coming year, the cafeteria was going to be filled with unfamiliar faces, and he would not know where to sit at lunch.

"I would not have many friends to hang out with," he said. "No one to play with at recess. No one to sit by at lunch."

But after the Rossford Board of Education overturned a recent decision, Cody will be rejoining his friends at Eagle Point Elementary School next year and will graduate from the sixth grade with his class.

At a seven-minute meeting of about 30 last week, which Cody and his mother attended, the school board announced it had overturned an unpopular decision. Last month, the board voted to relocate students living in a six-street neighborhood in Rossford nicknamed the "tree streets" -- Oak, Elm, Maple, Walnut, Beech, and Glenwood -- from Eagle Point Elementary School to Indian Hills Elementary. The decision, which had passed with a 4-1 vote, was met with steep opposition from local parents and children such as the Kahn family.

"I was very upset my kids were being ripped away from friends and teachers," Cody's mom Autumn Kahn said.

The Rossford school system faces more than $800,000 in property-tax cuts for the coming year, said board vice president Jackie Brown, the only member to vote no on the original decision.

Moving students from Eagle Point to Indian Hills would save the district $25,000 on transportation and help reduce class size, as Indian Hills is closer to these students' homes and has a smaller student-teacher ratio. But the decision would mean the students, including graduating sixth graders such as Cody, would leave teachers and friends behind.

Ms. Brown said the board would continue to re-evaluate cuts. She could not yet say whether students would be moved for the following year or whether the board will find other places to cut, but she added that the board would try to give parents more notice on any such decisions.

"There wasn't a lot of time given," Ms. Brown, said.

James Rossler, school board treasurer, said talks about the move began in March.

Three parents affected by the decision said at the meeting that a letter they received June 18 about the decision was the first they had heard of it

"They had to hide behind a letter to tell us," said Kelly Bias, a mother of three students in the affected area.

Taken aback by the letter, the parents banded together, phoned and emailed the school board, and held a parents' meeting.

Ms. Brown encouraged parents to attend board meetings and voice opinions on matters affecting their children.



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