Grants awarded to district aid student body

EAST LIVERPOOL — The city school board heard during its meeting Monday about two grants received by the district that will benefit its students.

Principal Jack Cunningham talked about a $1.2 million grant provided from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) that will be shared among the city district, Lisbon, Salem and the county ESC.

According to Cunningham, the district had applied last year for a Striving Readers Grant which it did not receive, but said a representative with the ODE was “flabbergasted that we didn’t get it” and said he believes she may have “had a lot to do with” the district instead being awarded this latest grant.

He said after the first grant was not received, “We went ahead and implemented some of this anyway.”

A literacy plan for grades kindergarten through fourth was formulated by a group of administrators, teachers and community members which identifies areas for improvement in the early years and support that can be provided from all levels of the district.

Cunningham said the ESC controls the funding and will reimburse the district as it uses funds, saying, “A lot of it is for training. It’s a big gift for us. It’s exactly what our kids need. We’re trying to get early literacy embedded.”

Superintendent Randy Taylor said the large grant is affirmation from the ODE for the work done by staff members, saying, “I’m proud of the work they’ve done. It’s going to help our kids read.”

Also announced by Taylor was receipt again this year of a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable grant totaling $86,144, up from last year’s $23,000.

The grant makes it possible to provide fruits and vegetables for students in LaCroft and North elementary buildings and the Westgate complex, which are given as snacks, according to Cunningham.

Board members expressed their appreciation for the grants and what they will do for the students.

The board heard from senior Vince Hoppel, who proposed an idea for his Eagle Scout project that entails removing a neglected wooden stage from the courtyard at North Elementary, replacing it with a circular concrete amphitheater that will accommodate 30 students.

Hoppel said the facility could be used for classes, presentations and performances.

As part of the project, Hoppel also proposed adding a sensory garden at North for those students with sensory issues that would assist them.

He said he has a portfolio with plans and said he will be assisted by his scout troop, with expenses raised with donations and fundraisers for what he expects to cost between $4,000 and $5,000.

Although Hoppel said he had originally hoped to start the project in August, he now is looking to start as soon as possible with a projected completion date of November.

Board member Richard Wolf asked if the project requires a qualified person to oversee, and Hoppel said his former scoutmaster is a landscaper and his grandfather a carpenter. Wolf advised him that, over the years, he has “done many projects and D.W. Dickey is most generous.” The local company sells concrete.

The board approved Hoppel’s project, granting him access to the property and to whatever he needs to complete it.

In other matters, the board approved the resignation of crossing guard/substitute custodian Tina Smith.

Approved were the appointments of Cindy Davis, 3.5-hour cafeteria worker, $12.04 per hour; Heather Barnhouse, 4-hour custodian, $14,671.91 annually. Gary Blake was withdrawn from consideration for the 4-hour position after it was noted he said he no longer wanted to be considered.

Anna Guildoo was approved as a volunteer coach.

Treasurer’s recommendations approved included the purchase of a tire changer for the vocational educational automotive class from Hunter Engineering Co. for $13,056.20 and payment of $3,052 to It’s Greek to Me, GTM Sportswear for cheerleading uniforms.

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