TONTOGANY - Otsego Junior High School no longer needs its sewing machines but is hoping someone else does.
Sewing was eliminated from the curriculum when new standards were adopted last year by the Ohio Department of Education for family and consumer science programs - the classes formerly known as home economics. As a result, Otsego is selling seven Janome sewing machines with cabinets for a minimum bid of $40 and two Brother sewing machines with carrying cases for a minimum bid of $30.
"If you ask the kids how many of them have a sewing machine at home, my guess is you'd probably have very few, and probably 25 years ago, lots of students would have had a sewing machine at home," Priscilla Pixler, principal at Otsego Junior High, said. "It isn't something that's essential to our lives today."
Jane Music, satellite supervisor for Penta Career Center's family and consumer science programs, said new state standards for family and consumer sciences call for classes at the middle-school level in the areas of healthy foods, consumer and financial literacy, and transitions and careers. Sewing is not a part of any of those.
"A lot of people don't make their own clothing anymore," Ms. Music said. "They may do sewing for recreational purposes and it certainly is in many cases an art form and a creative skill for individuals to have. But when it came to looking at all the content that needed to be covered in the new family and consumer science realm, I guess you could say it didn't make the cut."
Ms. Pixler, who does sew, said she isn't sorry to see sewing eliminated from the curriculum.
"I really have to agree with the state that this course should teach students skills that they're going to use in their life and, while many people sew for enjoyment, it certainly isn't an essential skill in this day and age," she said.
The public is invited to inspect the sewing machines between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sept. 17 through Sept. 24 at Otsego's central office. Sealed bids will be accepted until noon Sept. 24 at the superintendent's office and opened at 12:30 p.m. that day.
The highest bids will be recommended for approval to the school board, and those with the highest bids will have the first choices of machines.