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Published: Wednesday, 5/2/2012

Maumee, Perrysburg to hold preschool classes at Union

BY GABRIELLE RUSSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A vacated crossing guard's booth sits empty at along bustling Conant Street. Inside the shuttered Union School, the classrooms have been empty for nearly a year.

Maumee City Schools closed Union in June, 2011, because of declining enrollment and reconfiguring of elementary schools.

But the 142-year-old building will see classroom life again. Perrysburg and Maumee schools plans to move preschoolers there to save thousands of dollars.

The Perrysburg system, which rents classroom space from the Lutheran Church of the Master in Perrysburg, will relocate those five preschool classes to Union.

The annual lease with the church costs $45,400, which includes $34,000 for rent. Other costs included custodial fees and utilities, Superintendent Thomas Hosler said. The lease expires at the end of this school year. The new one-year lease with Maumee schools is $23,154for rent, utilities, and custodial work.

"We're pretty happy about that," Mr. Hosler said.

Maumee, which plans to move its two preschool classes from Wayne Trail Elementary to Union, expects to save about $6,000 through Perrysburg's contribution toward Union's utility expenses, district spokesman Nancy Sayre said.

Perrysburg approved the agreement last week, and the Maumee board is expected to approve it May 7. To get Union ready for August requires one-time start-up costs.

Perrysburg and Maumee officials anticipate each district will spend about $20,000 for items including two wheelchair lifts and a new entry gate for buses.

Since Union closed, the building's only use has been as office space for First Presbyterian Church of Maumee, which has had a one-year lease that expires in June. The church is undergoing a renovation.

The Perrysburg preschool program has about 100 children; Maumee's has 54.

The plan to use Union together developed from regular monthly meetings of officials of Maumee, Perrysburg, and Anthony Wayne schools seeking ways to consolidate services to save money.

In February, Maumee and Perrysburg schools approved plans to occasionally bus students from the opposite district to extracurricular events and activities.

School officials said the plan was intended to prevent a Perrysburg bus and Maumee bus from each heading to the same destination with only a handful of students on board. Next school year, Perrysburg and Anthony Wayne schools will share a psychologist instead of each hiring its own, Mr. Hosler said.



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