The Perrysburg Board of Education, which is still debating what to do with the Commodore Building and how to configure the middle grades, needs to make a decision by early next year, Superintendent Michael Cline told board members last week.
"It's closing in on decision time," Mr. Cline said.
Mr. Cline told the board during a work session with the district's architects that to get a bond issue on the May ballot, the district needs to have a plan by the end of January.
"If we're really going to address the greatest potential for meeting the enrollment projections, we need to get something started in 2006," he said.
Mr. Cline pointed out that if there was one right answer, every school district in the country would be doing things that way.
"You can't make a really bad decision here," he said.
The board is considering two options, one that would keep fifth and sixth graders where they are now another that would move them to a new school building.
Under both options, the Commodore building would be a district-wide preschool and kindergarten.
In meetings between elementary and junior high staff and the district's architects, teachers cited more disadvantages to having a fifth and sixth-grade building than to having a preschool and kindergarten building.
Some junior high school teachers said the number of times a student changes buildings increases the amount of re-teaching because teachers wouldn't know what students had covered the previous year.
Others objected because the sixth-grade teachers work closely with other grades in the junior high, or because moving the sixth-graders out of the junior high would feel like a step backward.
Board member Gretchen Downs said she thinks the board has thrown out the best option, which is a 5-8 school.
"I think it is far and away the best option," she said.
Several board members said at previous meetings that was their preferred option or a close runner-up.
However, board member Barry Van Hoozen said that though it was his favorite option, "it was the most expensive option."
The board got rid of that option when it decided to use the Commodore building as a school. Board members worry that voters will not pass a bond issue for a plan that does not return the Commodore building to being a working school.
Longtime Perrysburg resident Bob Hufford told the board that several generations of his family went to the Commodore school.
"I love this building," he said. "I do not want to see it torn down."
Mrs. Downs said her priority is on students' education."Do I want to save this building at the cost of educational programming?" she said. "No way!"
The board will continue discussions Dec. 6.